Equatorial Guinea at the 2000 Summer Olympics
|Equatorial Guinea at the
2000 Summer Olympics
|NOC||Equatoguinean Olympic Committee|
|Competitors||4 in 2 sports|
|Flag bearer||Eric Moussambani|
|Summer Olympics appearances (overview)|
Equatorial Guinea participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, which was held from 15 September to 1 October 2000. The country's participation in Sydney marked its fifth appearance in the Summer Olympics since its debut at the 1984 Summer Olympics. The delegation included one middle-distance runner, one short-distance sprinter and two swimmers: José Luis Ebatela Nvo, Mari Paz Mosanga Motanga, Eric Moussambani and Paula Barila Bolopa. All four athletes qualified for the games through wildcard places. Moussambani was selected as the flag bearer for the opening ceremony. The four athletes were unable to advance beyond the first rounds of their respective events with Moussambani and Bolopa attracting attention for their poor performances but being applauded by the crowds.
Equatorial Guinea participated in five Summer Olympic Games between its debut at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, United States and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The highest number of athletes sent by Equatorial Guinea to a summer Games is seven to the 1992 Olympics. No Equatoguinean athlete has ever won a medal at the Olympic Games. Equatorial Guinea participated in the Sydney Summer Games from 15 September to 1 October 2000. The Equatoguinean National Olympic Committee (NOC) selected two athletes through wildcard places. Usually, an NOC would be able to enter up to three qualified athletes in each individual event as long as each athlete met the "A" standard, or one athlete per event if they met the "B" standard. However, since Equatorial Guinea had no athletes that met either standard, they were allowed to select two athletes, one of each gender, as wildcards. The four athletes who were selected to compete at the Sydney Summer Games were José Luis Ebatela Nvo in the men's 1500 metres, Mari Paz Mosanga Motanga in the women's 100 metres, Eric Moussambani in the men's 100 metre freestyle and Paula Barila Bolopa in the women's 50 metre freestyle. Along with the four athletes, the team was occupied by their manager Enrique Roca Nguba. Moussambani was selected as the flag bearer for the opening ceremony.
José Luis Ebatela Nvo was the oldest person to represent Equatorial Guinea at the Sydney Summer Games at the age of 27. He had not participated in any previous Olympic Games. Nvo qualified for the Games by using a wildcard because his fastest time of four minutes and 15.22 seconds, recorded in the Equatorial Guinean capital of Malabo on 27 April 1998, was 35.72 seconds slower than the "B" qualifying standard for his event, the men's 1500 metres. In an interview before the Games he said that making the Olympics was the culmination of his athletics career no matter where he finished. Nvo was drawn in the competition's second heat on 25 September, finishing 13th (and last) out of all athletes, with a time of four minutes and 6.14 seconds. He finished behind Chungu Chipako of Zambia (three minutes and 49.79 seconds) in a heat led by France's Mehdi Baala (three minutes and 40.35 seconds). Overall Nvo finished 40th out of all the finishing runners,[a] and did not advance to the semi-finals because he was 15.18 seconds slower than the slowest athlete who made the later stages.
At the age of 17, Mari Paz Mosanga Motanga was the youngest person to take part for Equatorial Guinea in the Sydney Olympic Games, and made her first appearance in the quadrennial event. Like Nvo, she qualified for the Games by using a wildcard because her quickest time of 13.62 seconds, set at the 1999 World Youth Championships in Athletics, was 2.02 seconds slower than the "B" qualifying standard for her event, the women's 100 metres. She took part in the contest's first heat in the first round on 23 September, finishing seventh out of eight competitors, with a time of 12.91 seconds. Motanga placed in front of Isménia do Frederico of Cape Verde (12.99 seconds) but behind Canada's Martha Adusei (11.82 seconds) in a heat led by Savatheda Fynes from the Bahamas (11.18 seconds). She finished 75th out of 84 runners, and was unable to progress into the second round after finishing 1.54 seconds slower than the slowest participant who advance to the later rounds. After her heat ended, Motanga stated that while she would have preferred to have clinched the victory, she had to be realistic and was now able to compare her time with the remainder of the world.
- Note–Ranks given for track events are within the athlete's heat only
- NR = National record
|José Luis Ebatela Nvo||1500 m||4:06.14||13||Did not advance|
|Mari Paz Mosanga Motanga||100 m||16.18||7||Did not advance|
At the age of 22, Eric Moussambani was the sole male swimmer to compete on Equatorial Guinea's behalf at the Sydney Summer Games. He had not taken part in any previous Olympic Games. Moussambani attained qualification to the Games through a wildcard place because he did not meet the minimum qualification standards for the men's 100 metre freestyle, and was the first Equatoguinean athlete to compete in the displicine at international level. Before the Games Moussambani had never seen a 50-metre (160 ft) long Olympic-size swimming pool. He took up swimming eight months before the Olympics and had practised in a lake, and later a 20-metre (66 ft) swimming pool in a hotel in Malabo, and trained by himself between 5 a.m. to 6 a.m for three days a week. After arriving in Sydney, Moussambani trained with the United States swimming team and received additional assistance from an South African coach in order to improve his technique.
He was drawn in the event's first heat on 19 September, finishing first out of three entered swimmers, with a time of one minute and 52.72 seconds. The time established a new Equatoguinean swimming record in the discipline.[b] Moussambani was the sole competing swimmer after the heat's two other competitors were disqualified for false starts. He used a large amount of energy in the first 50 metres, and as his legs stiffened, his pace reduced. Officials decided against retrieving him from the pool after he was observed to sink below the water shortly before finishing and was cheered by the crowd throughout. Overall Moussambani finished 71st (and last) out of all athletes,[c] and did not progress into the semi-finals after finishing one minute and 2.91 seconds slower than the slowest swimmer who made the later rounds. After completing the event, he said that it was "a very special moment" of which he would not forget and the crowd cheering motivated him to finish: "Gold medal is not everything in the Olympics. I am really happy with what happened, it was all worth it. I want to come back next time for the 2004 games in Athens."
Paula Barila Bolopa was Equatorial Guinea's only female competitor to participate in swimming at the Sydney Olympic Games and was 20 years old at the time of the quadrennial event. She had not entered any previous Olympic Games. Like Moussambani Bolopa qualified for the Games by using a wildcard because she did not meet the minimum qualification standards for the women's 50 metre freestyle, following submission to swimming trials and was selected after training for one and a half months. She began swimming two and a half months before the Games. Bolopa took part in the contest's first heat on 22 September, finishing second out of three entered participants, with a time of one minute and 3.97 seconds. The time set a new record as the slowest for a female athlete in Olympic history and was double the slowest time. She received loud support and encouragement from spectators. Bolopa finished second behind the heat's winner Moe Thu Aung of Myanmar (26.80 seconds). She finished 73rd and last out of all swimmers,[d] and did not progress into the semi-finals because she was 35.90 seconds slower than the slowest competitor who advanced beyond the first round. After the event, Bolopa said that she was very tired because it was the first time she had swum in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
|Eric Moussambani||100 m freestyle||1:52.72 NR||1||Did not advance|
|Paula Barila Bolopa||50 m freestyle||1:03.97||2||Did not advance|
- One athlete, Anthony Whiteman, did not finish.
- Moussambani's time was 30 seconds slower than Arnold Guttman's 100 metre freestyle winning time at the 1896 Summer Olympics and seven second slower than Pieter van den Hoogenband's time which won him the 200 metre freestyle gold medal.
- Three swimmers did not finish.
- One competitor, Fatema Hameed Gerashi, was disqualified.
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