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Small nations big returns in Tokyo Olympics

Published: 9th Aug 2021 12:11 am

Hyderabad: As the curtains fell on the Olympics, all eyes were on the medal tally. While sports power houses like the USA and China were on the top, there were a few countries that made history with dominating performances. Here is a look at a few smaller nations who went on to grab attention at the mega event.


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The island country situated in Caribbean sea spanning 10,900 square kilometres has a population of 26,97,983. However, it is a powerhouse when it comes to track and field events at the Olympics. While Usain Bolt led the country to several medals with his dominating shows from 2008 to 2016 Games, the women athlete continued his legacy.

In the Tokyo Olympics, they won a total of nine medals including four gold, a silver and four bronze. The women’s power came to the fore when Jamaica swept the 100m sprint with top three places. Elaine Thompson Herah defended the gold in 100m while legendary sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took silver. Shericka Jackson raced to bronze to show their domination. Elaine added another gold in 200m to complete the sprint double while Hansle Parchment took gold in men’s 110m hurdles. The 4x100m relay team made it a memorable outing with fourth gold.

San Marino

A small state located on the northeastern side of Apennine Mountains, San Marino covers a land area of just over 61 square kilometres. The population of the country is merely 33,860. Despite making their debut in the 1960 Games, they opened their medal tally in Tokyo Games.

In doing so, it also became the smallest nation to be on the medals tally. They won three medals at this edition when Alessandra Perilli won a bronze in women’s trap shooting and a silver with Gian Marco Berti in mixed trap event. Wrestler Myles Amine won the third medal for the country with a bronze in the men’s freestyle event, ending their 61-year-long wait for the Olympic medal.


Fiji, the island country in Melanesia in South Pacific ocean with an overall area of 18,300 square kilometres, has a population of 8,83,483. The island nation made their debut at the Olympics in 1956 Games. Since then it competed in 14 editions but never won a medal until the 2016 Rio Games. They won a gold in the Rugby Seven in the men’s event, which they retained in Tokyo to emerge a powerhouse in the event. Their women counterparts also elevated their status as a powerhouse in rugby seven by winning a bronze in this edition.


Officially known as the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, it is a country part of the West Indies in the Atlantic. With a population of 3,51,461, it covers a total area of 13,878 square kilometers. Having made their debut in 1952, The Bahamas has 8 gold, 2 silver and 6 bronze medals in Olympics. At the Tokyo Games, it had won two gold medals both in the 400m events. Steven Gardiner took the top honours in the men’s 400m event while Shaunae Miller-Uibo took the gold in women’s 400m.

    • Turkmenistan joined the list as first-time medal winners with a weightlifting silver through Polina Guryeva
    •  Burkina Faso won their first ever medal with triple jumper Hugues Fabrice Zango finishing third for a bronze
    • Philippines won their first ever gold in weightlifting through Hidilyn Diaz in the women’s 55kg category
    • Bermuda became the smallest nation with the first gold when Flora Duffy won the top honours in women’s triathlon
    • Qatar also won their first-ever gold when Fares Ibrahim Elbakh won the 96kg men’s weightlifting category. Qatar also won their second gold in the men’s high jump when Mutaz Essa Barshim shared the gold with Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi after being tied for the top spot
    • 88 different nations have won a medal in Tokyo – which is an Olympic record
    • 63 different nations have won gold medals at this games.

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