Hamadou Djibo Issaka

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Hamadou Djibo Issaka (born 3 July 1977)[1][2] is a Nigerien athlete. A competitive swimmer, Djibo Issaka trained as a Men's single sculls rower for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London to take a development spot offered to the Nigerien federation by the International Olympic Committee.[3]

2012 Olympics[edit]

Djibou Issaka, a gardener and swimming pool attendant,[4] was chosen by Niger to train as a sculler just three months prior to the 2012 Summer Olympic games, receiving his first training in competitive rowing in Egypt, then spending two months at the International Rowing Development Centre in Tunisia. He was chosen for a wild card from the IOC Tripartite Commission, adding him to the full pool of otherwise qualified rowers, in a program that seeks to develop sports outside traditional competitors. In the 12 weeks prior to the Olympics he was named Nigerien national rowing champion.[5] He trained in the Belgian town of Hazewinkel, prior to the opening of the games.

On 28 July, Djibo Issaka gained widespread press attention for his first Olympic appearance in the 2000 metre single sculls heat, in which he finished last with a time of 8:25.56, almost a minute behind his nearest competitor and almost 1 minute 40 seconds behind the winner.

The British press gave Djibo Issaka a wave of attention following his first appearance on 28 July, comparing him with Equiguinean swimmer Eric "the Eel" Moussambani from the Sydney games in 2000, and giving Djibo Issaka headline nicknames of "Issaka the Otter", "Hamadou The Keel," and the "Sculling Sloth".[6][7]

While crowds and the press cheered him, British former Olympic Gold Medal rower Steve Redgrave criticised Djibo Issaka's inclusion. Despite these comments, the IOC explained Djibo Issaka had not taken the place of any other qualified rower, but was one of a number of Olympians added to additional places created after qualification.

Djibo Issaka finished 4th (last) with a time of 8:39.66 in a second Repechage placement heat for non-qualifiers on 29 July.[8]

On 31 July, Djibo Issaka started in the Semifinal E and finished 4th with a time of 9:07.99.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hamadou Djibo Issaka BBC Sport Olympics.
  2. ^ Hamadou Djibo Issaka. Official site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, consulted 2012-07-31.
  3. ^ Novice rower wins hearts of Eton crowd. Belinda Goldsmith, Reuters. 29 July 2012.
  4. ^ "The Good, the Bad and the Unforgettable", New York Times, 13 August 2012
  5. ^ London 2012's Eric the Eel uncovered: Niger rower finishes last (but he was only 90 seconds behind the winner). Ian Garland, Daily Mail. 29 July 2012
  6. ^ Issaka The Otter: Novice from Niger is new Eddie The Eagle after super-slow sculls Steve Anglesey, The Mirror (London). 29 July 2012.
  7. ^ 'Sculling Sloth' back on water at London Olympics. AP 31 July 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Rowing". London 2012 website. Retrieved 31 July 2012.