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2010 African Championships in Athletics

The 2010 African Championships in Athletics was held in Nairobi, Kenya from 28 July to 1 August 2010.
The African Championships in Athletics were held in Kenya for the first time. Previously two major athletics events have been held in Kenya, namely 1987 All-Africa Games and 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
The championships were awarded to Kenya at the April 2007 Confederation of African Athletics Congress in Dakar, Senegal.
The event was originally scheduled to be held from April 28 to May 2, 2010, but due to delayed preparations the event was moved forward.The Moi International Sports Centre was initially set to become the host venue, but it was later changed to the smaller Nyayo Stadium.


Medal table  Nyayo National Stadium
Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total Nyayo_stadium.jpg 
1  Kenya 10 7 8 25
2  Nigeria 8 5 5 18
3  South Africa 6 7 6 19
4  Egypt 4 2 3 9
5  Algeria 3 2 3 8
6  Morocco 2 1 3 6
7  Botswana 2 1 0 3
7  Tunisia 2 1 0 3
9  Ethiopia 1 4 4 9
10  Senegal 1 3 2 6
11  Côte d'Ivoire 1 2 1 4
12  Ghana 1 1 2 4
13  Uganda 1 1 0 2
14  Lesotho 1 0 1 2  Nyayo National Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. It is located near the city centre. The stadium was built in 1983 for a capacity of 30,000. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The popular AFC Leopards football club plays most of its home games at Nyayo stadium. The stadium is also used for athletics and various ceremonies. Other facilities at the Nyayo Stadium include a gymnasium and a 50-metre swimming pool.
The completion of the Nyayo Stadium gave Kenya the opportunity to be placed in the category of nations that were invited to bid for the 4th All-Africa Games in 1987, a bid that was awarded to Kenya, giving it International status. In essence, the Nyayo Stadium "gave birth" to Moi International Sports Centre.
The Nyayo Stadium is the host venue of the 2010 African Championships in Athletics.
15  Libya 1 0 0 1
16  Cameroon 0 3 1 4
17  Sudan 0 1 1 2
17  Gabon 0 1 1 2
19  Burundi 0 1 0 1
19  Seychelles 0 1 0 1
21  Togo 0 0 1 1
21  Madagascar 0 0 1 1
21  Mauritius 0 0 1 1
21  Democratic Republic of the Congo 0 0 1 1
Participating nations
 Algeria 16  Gambia 3  Rwanda 14
 Angola 6  Ghana 14  Senegal 13
 Benin 5  Guinea-Bissau 2  Seychelles 14
 Botswana 14  Kenya 106  Sierra Leone 1
 Burkina Faso 12  Lesotho 2  Somalia 5
 Burundi 8  Liberia 5  South Africa 41
 Cameroon 12  Libya 3  Sudan 7
 Comoros 1  Madagascar 6  Swaziland 1
 Ivory Coast 10  Malawi 1  Tanzania 21
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 11  Mali 5  Togo 4
 Djibouti 2  Mauritius 15  Tunisia 7
 Egypt 14  Morocco 19  Uganda 27
 Equatorial Guinea 2  Mozambique 5  Zambia 9
 Eritrea 6  Namibia 6  Zimbabwe 4
 Ethiopia 63  Nigeria 37
 Gabon 2  Republic of the Congo 7
High powered rivalries expected in Nairobi – African Championships preview
Nairobi, Kenya More than half a dozen bitterly-contested rivalries among Africa’s premiere athletics talent will be on tap when the 17th CAA African Athletics Championships (28th July- 1st August 2010) kickoff at the Nyayo stadium in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Wednesday (28).
This year’s championships will also serve as an important qualifier to select Africa’s team for the IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup in Split, Croatia (4-5 September 2010).
Rudisha v Mulaudzi - men’s 800m
Africa’s biggest star in this track season has arguably been Kenya’s defending African 800m champion David Rudisha. The 21-year old, who started his season in February, has set the track season alight with some outstanding performances including a 1:41.52 in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium that took him to number three on the world lists and saw him smash the African record at the distance. In five starts over two laps, Rudisha remains unbeaten and brings with him the hottest unbeaten streak into the championships.
For all these fast times in top meetings in the last two years, Rudisha has yet to win any medals in global championships as a senior with the African title he won two years ago in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia his only senior championship medal. That, however, cannot be said about experienced South African Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, who is the reigning World champion at the distance and two-time World indoor champion in the event as well. The 29-year-old will again provide Rudisha’s biggest challenge, although the Kenyan has won all three of their head-to-heads this season.
The field will be missing Sudan’s twice world indoor 800m champion Abubaker Kaki, who chose to instead focus on anchoring the Sudanese team in the 4X400m. But it will not be short of star power with Alfred Kirwa Yego, the 2007 World champion and 2009 world bronze medallist.
Defar v Cheruiyot v Ejigu - women’s 5000m
?The women’s 5000m pits together an athlete with a large repertoire with an in-form one as Kenya’s reigning world 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot clashes with four-time World indoor 3000m champion Meseret Defar in a repeat of the 2007 and 2009 world championship 5000m finals.
Cheruiyot will toe the start line in Nairobi on the back of an impressive outdoor season in the Samsung Diamond League with victories in Lausanne (3000m) and Paris (5000m) where she handed out comprehensive victories to Defar and Melkamu in the former.
In contrast, Defar has endured a mixed 2010 campaign. The 26-year-old got the year rolling with the second fastest time over the 5000m indoors in Stockholm and then created her own piece of history by winning a fourth consecutive world indoor 3000m in Doha at the expense of Cheruiyot. Her outdoor campaign also started encouragingly with a personal best (4:02.00) over the 1500m in New York before a bout of flu saw her finish third over the 3000m in Lausanne behind Cheruiyot and Turkey’s Alemitu Bekele, despite pre-meet hopes of an African record at the event.
But a shocker in Nairobi could come from fellow Ethiopian Sentayehu Ejigu, who has surprised many this season by leading the diamond race over the 3000m/5000m and has victories in Shanghai and Monaco to show for her improved campaign.  Ejigu finished third behind Defar and Cheruiyot in Doha in March and should push the duo very closely in Nairobi.
Masai v Dibaba - women’s 10,000m
In addition to Cheruiyot who came of age in Berlin last year by becoming the first Kenyan winner of the women’s 5000m World title, Kenya will have high hopes once again in World 10,000m champion Linet Masai as she bids to regain the title from Ethiopian hands.
The 21-year-old has had a mixed season since her surprise victory in the German capital. Apart from winning the New York Mini 10km this year, Masai has performed on the track with modest results with appearances in Shanghai (2nd over 5000m) and Lausanne(10th in her least favourite 5000m). But she will start the race in Nairobi with full confidence having beaten Dibaba twice over the last year – in the 5000m in New York and at the World Cross Country Championships where she finished second to Dibaba’s below-par fourth place performance - and winning the ultra-competitive Kenyan trials for the championships.
In contrast, Dibaba is hoping to complete her first full track season in two years after sitting out 2009 with injuries. She brings a 100% record on the track this season to Nairobi following 5000m victories in New York and Eugene and is unbeaten in the 10,000m in the five years since she made her debut over the distance in July 2005.
A surprise in the event could come from defending African 5000m champion Meselech Melkamu, who steps up to the 10,000m after her successful experimentation with the event last year. Melkamu improved Dibaba’s African record to 29:53.80 in Utrecht last year and was a close second at the World championships behind Masai and won the only high-profile 10,000m this season in Ostrava in 31:04.52.
Langat v Burka v Lakhouad - women’s 1500m
The women’s 1500m also sees another Ethiopia v Kenya rivalry between Olympic 1500m champion Nancy Jebet Langat and defending champion Gelete Burka. After a lacklustre 2009, Langat has returned back to top form this season with victories in Doha, New York, and Oslo, but finished third in her last competitive outing before Nairobi behind Burka and Moroccan Btissam Lakhouad. Burka clocked the first sub-four minute performance of the season on that occasion and will be eager to preserve her 100% record over the 1500m on African soil, while Lakhouad hopes to build on her performance in Lausanne where she broke the ten-year old national record over the distance, also with a sub-four clocking.
Badji v Mokoena v Gaisah - men’s Long jump
There is also an exciting matchup in the men’s Long Jump where South Africa’s Olympic and World silver medallist Godfrey Khotso Mokoena clashes with in-form jumpers Ndiss Kaba Badji, who heads the African lists this season with a leap of 8.27m; and Ghana’s 2005 World Championships silver medallist and 2006 African champion Ignasious Gaisah, who is consistently jumped this after two years of injury problems.
More Kenyan dominance expected
The host nation is also expected to feature dominantly in the many of the other middle distance races. Olympic 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop starts as the favourite in the men’s 1500m, although he can expect stiff competition from young star Silas Kiplagat, who ran the fastest time in the event in almost four years last week in Monaco. Ethiopian Mekonnen Gebremedhin, fourth at the World indoor championships, and South Africa’s reigning African bronze medallist Juan Van Deventer are expected to provide the biggest foreign challenge. 
Both the men’s and women’s 3000m Steeplechase titles should also go to the Kenyans even without the likes of double world champion Brimin Kipruto and Paul Kipsele Koech. The favourite in the men’s race is Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi with world bronze medallist Richard Mateelong and world leader Abraham Cherono also in the reckoning. Their biggest opposition should come from Uganda’s Benjamin Kiplagat, who improved his personal best to 8:03.81 in Lausanne three weeks ago.
World bronze medallist Milcah Chemos is the woman to watch in the women’s event along with compatriots Mercy Njoronge and Lydiah Rotich. Ethiopia’s Mekdes Bekele and Sofia Assefa, second and fourth in Addis Ababa two years ago, will hope to disrupt a Kenyan clean sweep.
And Olympic silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei is also the favourite in the women’s 800m with Moroccan Halima Hachlaf her biggest challenge. ??Sprints - Can Okagbare win three gold medals?
As its tradition in these biennial championships, Nigerian athletes will start as favourites in the sprint events. The biggest star in their large squad of 60 is Olympic Long Jump bronze medallist Blessing Okagbare, who has shifted focus this year to the 100m with some success. The 20-year-old, who is a student of the University of Texas in El Paso, has been entered to compete in the 100m, 200m, and the Long Jump and has a realistic chance of winning a treble in Nairobi after leading the African lists in all the three events (11.03 for the 100m, 22.71 for the 200m, and 6.88m for the long jump). Her biggest challenge in those events should come from compatriot and defending 100m champion Damola Osayemi.
However, the men’s sprints are less likely to be dominated by one country. Ghana’s Aziz Zakari is the leader on the African lists, but can expect stiff competition from Nigerian trio Benjamin Adukwu, Ogho-Ogene Egwero, and Obinna Metu, who follow him on the season’s lists. South Africa’s Simon Mogakwe props the continent’s lists in the 200m. 
The best of the rest
In other events, Botswana’s defending champion Amantle Montsho is the women to look out for in the women’s 400m. The 22-year-old, who is a product of the IAAF High Performance Training Centre in Dakar, Senegal, has consistently appeared in the finals of major championships and top-tier track meets in the last three years and is looking to better her 49.82 championship record set two years ago in Addis Ababa.
South Africa’s Louis Van Zyl, defending men’s 400m Hurdles champion and another top circuit performer, starts as the overwhelming favourite in his event. Other returning champions to watch out for include Botswana’s Kabelo Kgosiemang in the men’s High Jump, the South African quartet of Simone du Toit (women’s Shot Put), Elizna Naude (women’s discus), Sunette Viljoen (women’s javelin), and Chris Harmse (men’s Hammer Throw). 
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF
Kiprop takes men’s 10,000m as African championships begin in Nairobi
Nairobi, KenyaKenyan marathoner Wilson Kiprop won a bitterly-contested men’s 10,000m on the opening day of the 17th CAA Safaricom African Athletics Championships at the Nyayo stadium in Nairobi, Kenya.
In the other two finals on day 1, Burger Lambrechts led a South African podium sweep in the men’s shot put as the rainbow nation stormed to the top of the medal standings ahead of host nation Kenya. And Senegal’s Amy Sene caused a major upset by beating Egypt’s defending champion Marwa Hussein in the women’s hammer.
Kiprop holds off Kipsiro in the men’s 10,000m
With just two finals on the opening day and the men’s 10,000m representing the host nation’s best chance of medals, a capacity crowd of 20,000 filled the Nyayo stadium in anticipation of the “race of the day” and they were not to be disappointed as 23-year old Kiprop held off the challenge of the All-African Games 5000m champion Moses Kipsiro to win gold in 27:32.91.
The pre-race hype had billed the contest to be another battle between Kenya and their East African neighbors Ethiopia, but unlike two years ago where Gebregziabher Gebremariam led a clean sweep of the medals on home soil, the Ethiopians could not offer any resistance.
In the absence of Gebremariam and his fellow medalists Ibrahim Jeylan and Eshetu Wondimu, Ethiopia’s medal hopes lay on two-time Olympic 10,000m silver medalist Sileshi Sihine. But after losing ground on a breakaway group of the three Kenyans in the race - Kiprop, Matthew Kisorio, and Geofrey Mutai - and Uganda;s Kipsiro, Sihine pulled out of the race with eight laps left with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Two laps earlier, the Kenyan trio and Kipsiro pulled away from the Ethiopians. But after Sihine dropped out and the Ethiopian challenge faded, Kiprop and Mutai exchanged the lead in the succeeding laps in order to drop Kipsiro. However, they only succeeded in dropping off their compatriot Kisorio with Kipsiro comfortably running just behind the front pair at the bell. 
The trio ran side-by-side going into the final lap, but Kiprop kicked first with 200 metres to go and despite the gallant efforts of Kipsiro to play catch up, the Paris Half Marathon winner held on to take his first African title.
“I am happy about my first African title,” Kiprop said after the race. “The plan was to cooperate with my team mates and then see who could win the race. It is really great and I am extremely happy.”
Lambrechts takes Shot Put title by 1 cm
The day’s other final, the men’s Shot Put, was equally too close to call until the final stages where veteran 37-year old South African Burger Lambrechts took victory with his very last throw of the contest.
His compatriot Roelof Potgieter led after the first round with a throw of 17.74m and further extended his lead on his fourth throw of 18.62m. At this point, only Lambrechts had thrown further than 18m. Potgieter fouled on his fifth attempt, but looked assured of victory before Lambrechts pulled back the years with a throw 18.63m to take his second African title, twelve years after his first in Dakar, Senegal.
“I think it was an interesting competition today,” said the soft-spoken Lambrechts. “The lead changed I think four times and it was very competitive. I was hoping to throw around 19 metres, but the circle was dusty and slippery. I am very happy about my performance here and hope to hang around as long as I can.”
Sene shocks Hussein in women’s hammer
The surprise result of the day was reserved in the women’s Hammer Throw where Senegal’s Amy Sene threw a national record of 64.11m to take victory ahead of Egypt’s Marwa Ahmed Hussein (62.36m), who has won African titles in each of the last four editions of the African championships. Togo’s Florence Edem Apefa Ezeh also improved her own national record to win bronze in 57.94m.
Favorites advance in qualifiers, Bourrada leads Decathlon
Apart from the day’s two finals, it was a busy day of heats and qualification rounds in the sprints, the 800m, and field events.
In the men’s 100m, Nigeria’s 2007 All-African Games champion Obinna Metu (10.37) was the fastest in the first round with his compatriots Ogho-Ogene Egwero, Benjamin Adukwu, and Ghana’s 2000 African Champion Aziz Zakari also easily making it through to to the semifinals. Zakari (10.16) and Nigeria's Ogho-Ogene (10.17) went on to lead all qualifiers in the evening's semi-finals.
Nigeria’s pre-race favorite Blessing Okagbare was fastest in the women’s 100m semifinals ahead of compatriot and defending champion Damola Osayemi and Agnes Osazuwa.
Kenya’s 2007 world champion Alfred Kirwa (1:48.66) was the fastest in qualifier in the first round of the men’s 800m, but compatriots David Rudisha (1:50.51) and Jackson Kivuva (1:49.93) easily cruised through their heats. South Africa’s World champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi had a bit of a scare in his heat, but qualified in third place.
Defending women’s 400m champion Amantle Montsho, South Africa’s World and Olympic Long Jump silver medalist Godfrey Khotso Mokoena, Nigeria’s defending men’s 400m bronze medallist were impressive as they lead in their opening rounds.
And Algeria’s defending champion Larbi Bourrada is the overnight leader in the men’s Decathlon with 4312 points after the first day. He is followed by compatriot Mourad Souissi (4119 pts) ahead of Tunisian Hamdi Dhouibi (4021 pts).
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF
Meite, Okagbare take 100m titles, Cheruiyot over Defar again in the 5000m - African champs Day 2
Ivorian Ben Youssef Meite’s shock victory in the men’s 100m, Nigerian Blessing Okagbare’s expected victory in the women’s 100m, and Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot’s 5000m triumph over Ethiopian archrival Meseret Defar were the highlights of the action on day two of the 17th CAA Safaricom African Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.
In the day’s other events, South Africa’s Godfrey Khotso Mokoena easily won his first African title in the men’s long jump, Seun Adigun made it a successful day for Nigeria with gold in the women’s 100m hurdles, and Algerian Larbi Bourrada took the men’s decathlon.
Meite shocks strong field to win first African sprint title for Ivory Coast
The result of the day came in the men’s 100m where Meite registered the shock of the championships so far by winning the men’s 100m. The Ivorian created a bit of history by becoming his country’s first individual gold medalist in the biennial championships since Serge Doh won the men’s discus in 1996.
The 23-year old was only sixth fastest in the African lists before the start of the championships with four of the five leaders competing in the final on Thursday, but after going off the blocks third quickest, he easily made ground on the competition and took victory in a personal best time of 10.08, the fastest time in these championships since Segun Ogunkoya’s 9.94 performance in Dakar, Senegal 12 years ago and a national record.
Ghana’s former champion and pre-race favorite Aziz Zakari (10.12) and South Africa’s Simon Magakwe (10.14) followed Meite across the finish line for silver and bronze respectively.
“This is a personal best, a national record, and the first medal for Ivory Coast in a long time and I am really happy,” said a delighted Meite. “It was a hard race and I was confident after the heats of victory and knew that I would win.”
One down, two to go - Okagbare claims 100m championship record
While the men’s 100m was a shock, there was little surprise in the women’s corresponding race as Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare confirmed her pre-race tag with her first ever African title.
The 21-year old, who is still a student in the University of Texas at El Paso in the US, recovered from a bad start to clock 11.03 and break compatriot Mary Onyali’s championship record by two hundredths of a second.
Gabon’s Perennes Pau Zang Milama, fourth in the world indoor championships 60m, prevented a clean sweep of the medals for Nigeria by finishing second in 11.15, a personal best and a national record, with defending champion Damole Osayemi third in 11.22.
“It was a huge relief winning,” said Okagbare. “I thought my start was very bad. But after 30 or 40m, I was doing my race. I was worried that I might be disqualified and that’s why I started very badly. I am happy with the victory and for the championship record.”
Impressive Cheruiyot beats Defar again
For the crowd at the Nyayo stadium, there was only going to be one final on the day with home favorite and world champion Vivian Cheruiyot taking on four-time World indoor 3000m champion Meseret Defar in the women’s 5000m.
The 26-year old Kenyan had an inferior head-to-head record (14 victories for Defar over the 5000m to Cheruiyot’s three) going into the race, but had significantly won their last two outdoor encounters and was again favored to triumph over the Ethiopian on home soil.
Both Cheruiyot and Defar chose conservative tactics for the 12-and-half laps by electing not to push the pace from the front for large parts of the contest. It was Defar’s compatriot Sentayehu Ejigu, this season’s Samsung Diamond League 3000m/5000m leader, who tried to make the first real move of the race with eight laps left, but that only succeeded in whittling the starting field of 13 to just seven runners with all three Kenyans - Cheruiyot, Ines Chenonge, and Esther Chemtai - the three Ethiopians - Defar, Ejigu, and Sule Utura - and Tanzanian Zakia Mrisho still in contention.
Chemtai, with four laps to go, and then Cheruiyot, a lap later, also tried leading from the front, but the seven in the leading pack arrived together at the bell on walking pace.
Cheruiyot made the first serious kick of the race with 300 metres remaining and continued to pull away from Defar until she reached the finish line in a 16:18.72 ahead of Defar (16:20.54) with Ejigu holding off Chenonge to claim bronze in 16:22.32.
“This is a championship and that is why the time is very slow,” said a delighted Cheruiyot. “The victory is very special for me as I am competing in my country and today, I did not want to lose in front of my people.”
8.23m enough for Mokoena in Long Jump
South Africa’s Olympic and World silver medallist Godfrey Khotso Mokoena took the men’s Long Jump with a modest leap of 8.23m. Although he has been struggling this season with injuries, the 25-year old needed just one attempt beyond eight metres to take victory ahead of Senegal’s Ndiss Kaba Badji (8.10m) with Nigeria’s Stanley Gbagbeke (8.06m) taking bronze. Ghana’s 2006 African champion Ignasious Gaisah did not start the final after a recurrence of a foot injury.
Adigun, Bourrada, Dinar, El Ghazaly all win easily
In the day’s other four finals, Nigeria’s Seun Adigun won her country’s second gold of the day with victory in the women’s 100m Hurdles in 13.14s. Algerian Larbi Bourrada was an impressive winner of the men’s Decathlon with 8148 pts ahead of compatriot Mourad Souissi, who improved his personal best to 7818 points, and Mauritius’ Guillaume Thierry (7100 pts). Moroccan Nisrin Dinar comfortably won the women’s Pole Vault with 3.70m, 20 centimeters clear of second placed Laetitia Berthier of Burundi and a further 10cm ahead of Ivorian Sinali Alima Outtara. And Egyptian Abdellatif El Ghazaly defended his men’s discus title with a throw of 59.30m ahead of compatriot Yasser Ibrahim Farag (58.71m) and South Africa’s Victor Hogan (58.11m).
Track semis- Rudisha, Kirwa, Kikaya, Montsho, Thiam, Burka, Langat, Van Zyl all through but Mulaudzi pulls out
In the day’s track semifinals, all the pre-race favorites easily made it through to their finals on Friday and Saturday.
African record holder and the face of the championships David Rudisha made easy work in the men’s 800m final with the fastest time in qualifying (1:46.58) ahead of compatriots Alfred Kirwa and Jackson Kivuna. But South Africa’s World 800m champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi is out after failing to start the semifinals with a hamstring injury.
Libya’s Mohammed Khawaja looked impressive in qualifying for the men’s 400m final by winning his heat in 45.42, the fastest of the three heats. Democratic Republic of Congo’s 2006 champion and African record holder Gary Kikaya also made it through after winning his heat in 45.55.
As expected, Botwswana’s defending champion Amantle Montsho dominated the women’s 400m semifinals by clocking the fastest time of the two heats in 50.39. Also through is 2001 World champion Amy Mbacke Thiam of Senegal.
There were also no surprises in the women’s 1500m semis as pre-race favorites, Kenya’s Olympic champion Nancy Langat and defending African champion Gelete Burka ,both easily made it through. The fastest runner in qualifying though was Kenyan Irene Jelagat who won the first heat in 4:13.97.
And South Africa’s defending men’s 400m Hurdles winner Louis J Van Zyl is also safely through to the final after winning his heat in 49.73, but was second in qualifying to Senegal’s Mamadou Kasse Hanne, who won his heat in 49.45.
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF
Rudisha sizzles 1:42.84 as Kenya collects three golds in Nairobi - African champs, day 3
A stunning championships record by David Rudisha was the highlight of day three at the the 17th CAA Safaricom African Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday (30).
It capped a successful day for Kenya who drew level with South Africa at the top of the medal standings  - five gold, three silver, and two bronze - with two further victories for Nancy Langat in the women’s 1500m and Richard Mateelong in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase.
In the day’s other finals, South Africa’s Louis Van Zyl won his third African 400m Hurdles title, Botswana’s Amantle Montsho easily defended her women’s 400m title, and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare won her second and third gold medals of the championships with victory in the women’s Long jump and 4 x 100m Relay.
Rudisha goes sub-1:43 at a canter
After his African record time of 1:41.51 in Heusden, Belgium, this summer and a series of consistent performances in the 800m this season, Kenya’s David Rudisha was the star of African athletics going into these biennial championships. But after his run-away victory here and a massive improvement on his own championship record (1:44.20) set two years ago in Addis Ababa, the 21-year old more than fulfilled his pre-race status.
The confident Kenyan was the overwhelming favourite after cruising through the heats, and without pacemakers and running at an altitude of 1700m above sea level, Rudisha chose bold front-running tactics from the gun. He took the starting pack through the first 400m in 51.59 and then effortlessly glided through the last lap to stop the clock in 1:42.84, a stadium and championship record. Compatriots Alfred Kirwa and Jackson Kivuva followed Rudisha across the finish line to complete the first ever clean sweep of the event.
 “Even without a pacemaker, I knew that I was going to run very fast,” Rudisha said. “I was really focused on the race before the start. I was expecting 1.43, but I am surprised that I ran 1.42. I am also very happy that we won all medals for Kenya. It is something special.”
Despite his consistency this season, however, the African record holder wouldn’t be drawn to suggestions that he is within touching distance of Kenyan-born Dane Wilson Kipketer’s 1:41.11 World record. “I do not want to think about the world record,” he said. “I want to keep on running fast and hope it comes when it comes.”
Mateelong beats Kemboi in the steeplechase
Defending African champion Richard Mateelong kept up the momentum from Rudisha’s performance with gold in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase where he beat World champion Ezekiel Kemboi in a tactical contest.
After a slow opening half of the race, Mateelong, Kemboi, and Ugandan Benjamin Kiplagat pulled away from a trailing pack of five runners with two laps to go. But after they dropped Kiplagat 600 metres before the finish, the two Kenyans made it a race of their own going into the final lap. The World Championship bronze medallist kicked with 300 metres to go and continued to pull away from his illustrious compatriot before stopping the clock in 8:23.54. Kemboi held on comfortably to take silver in 8:26.13, while Ethiopian Roba Gari overtook Kiplagat midway through the last lap to take bronze in 8:27.15, surprisingly the first Ethiopian medal in the event since 1992.
“My target here was to retain my African title and make the African team [for the Continental Cup], so I am very happy about that,” confirmed the race winner. “My target this season is to hopefully improve my personal best and run under 8 minutes.” 
Langat over Burka in tactical 1500m
The final gold of the day came in the women’s 1500m where Olympic champion Nancy Langat confirmed her impressive form this season with a commanding sprint victory.
Ethiopian Bertukan Feyessa took the leaders through 700 metres in a slow 2:04.25 and continued to lead until the 1000 metre point when Langat took over the front running. She took the pack through the bell in 3:12.11 and started to pull away at with 300 metres to go before Burka, running in the middle of the chasing pack, had to side-step a tiring pack before chasing the Kenyan.
Burka looked like she could close in on Langat, but after glancing back at with 250 metres to go the Kenyan pulled away before crossing the line in 4:10.43 with Burka (4:11.12) comfortably holding on for silver ahead of Moroccan Btissam Lakhouad (4:11.81).
“I expected the first two laps to be faster and when the pace was slow, I was confident of victory,” said Langat. “I was confident of my sprint and after looking back, I knew I can pull away from Burka. This victory gives me great confidence for the rest of my season. I hope I can get a fast race where I can run under 4 minutes and improve my personal best.”
Okagbare takes third gold
In a frantic day of finals, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare added two more gold medals to her 100m crown from the previous day with victories in the Long Jump and 4x100m Relay.
And the 21-year old made use of her multi-tasking skills to complete the feat. After opening the women’s long jump with 6.55m, she then skipped her next two attempts to compete in the relays anchoring the Nigerian team to gold in 43.45.
She then cut short her lap of honor with the rest of her teammates to return to the jumping pit and produced a winning leap of 6.62m to take gold ahead of compatriot Comfort Onyali (6.42m) and Moroccan Jamaa Chnik (6.30m).
Third African title for Van Zyl
South African Louis Van Zyl had less of a busy day compared to Okagbare, but completed a hat-trick of African titles with a hard fought victory in the men’s 400m Hurdles.
The 25-year old may have been the prohibitive favorite, but after a bad start, he was forced to make ground on compatriot Cornel Fredericks before eventually using his experience to move clear in the final two hurdles. Despite clipping his final hurdle, the South African took victory in 48.51 ahead of Fredericks (48.79) and Senegal’s Mamadou Kasse Hanne (49.10).
“I did not expect that,” said Van Zyl when asked about Fredericks’ run. “I came here expecting to run 48 something and win my third African title. I am happy about that. It was not a good race. I did not have a good start and I messed up my last hurdle.  My plan is to complete in two more Olympic games and hopefully win four more African titles.”
50.03 for Montsho in women’s 400m, Libyan Khawaja shocks in men’s 400m
Botswana’s Amantle Montsho, the defending champion and heavy favourite in the women’s 400m, had little trouble in the defense of the title she won two years ago. The 27-year-old was already clear off the field at 200m and put on a decent effort at cracking the 50s barrier before slightly coming up short in 50.03. Nonetheless, she was more than a second ahead of Senegal’s Amy Mbacke Thiam (51.32) and with Nigeria’s Shade Abdugan (51.63) taking bronze.
“I was looking to improve on my personal best from Addis (49.82) or at least run under 50s,” she said. “But it is a good performance and the second fastest time of my career and I am looking forward to Croatia to run in the Continental Cup.”
There was a shock, however, in the men’s 400m where Libyan Mohammed Khawaja took an unlikely victory in one of the surprises of the day. The 2009 Mediterranean Games champion clocked 44.98, a national record, to beat Sudan’s Rabah Yousif (45.18) and the Congo Democratic Republic’s 2006 African champion Gary Kikaya (45.28).
Khawaja’s astonishing effort, however, came at a cost. After rushing through the media/athlete mixed zone waving off all interview requests and pleas from his delegation to do a lap of honuor, he collapsed inside a tent used to store competing athletes’ kits and had to be stretched off to hospital after lying unconscious for a few minutes.
.. And the rest of the action
In the day’s other action, Lesotho’s Ts’oalei Selloane took victory in the women’s High Jump with 1.75m ahead of Seychelles’ Lissa Labiche (1.70m) and Kenya’s Cherotich Koech (1.55m). South Africa’s Elizna Naude defended her women’s Discus Throw title with a last round throw of 56.74m. And South Africa drew level with Kenya on top of the medals table with victory in the men’s 4X100m relays ahead of Nigeria and Ghana. 
Ghana’s Margaret Simpson (3497 pts) leads the women’s Heptathlon after four events with South African Janet Wienand (3289 pts) and Nigeria’s Patience Okoro (3277 pts) following behind.
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF
Dibaba takes down Masai in 10,000m to notch first Ethiopian gold in Nairobi - African champs, day 4
An impressive finishing kick by Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba won Ethiopia’s first gold of the 17th CAA Safaricom African Athletics Championships at the Nyayo stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday.
In the other highlights of day four, Nigeria’s Oke Tosin leaped 17.22m to win the men’s Triple Jump, but missed the championship record by just one centimetre. Algeria’s Hadj Lazib took a surprise win in the men’s 110m Hurdles ahead of Nigerian favorite Selim Nurudeen. And Egyptian Abdel Mohsen Anani won the men’s hammer beating South African five-time champion Chris Harmse.
Dibaba saves the day for Ethiopia
With just two silver and two bronze medals from the first two days, traditional powerhouse Ethiopia started the fourth day of the championships without a gold and were in danger of returning home empty handed if they failed to reach the top of the podium in the women’s 10,000m.
There was also pressure on Kenya’s world 10,000m champion Linet Masai with a capacity home crowd expecting the host’s sixth gold medal of the championships.
But the athletes from the two distance running powerhouses had little interest in pushing the pace in the opening eight laps with Tanzanian Restuta Joseph opening a large gap of about 20m on a reluctant chasing pack composed of Kenyans Masai, Pauline Korikwang, and Doris Changeiywo and the Ethiopian trio of Dibaba, and World Championships silver and bronze medalists Meselech Melkamu and Wude Ayalew respectively.
The pack finally caught Joseph after eight and a half laps, but even then, none of the top contenders took an interest in taking up the pace before eventually reaching the halfway point in a tactical 16:39.01.
After urging her teammates to push the pace from the front, Masai moved to the head of the pack with 11 laps to go and picked up the pace on her own. She ran the next 1000m in 3:01 and the increased pace only helped to drop her compatriots Korikwang and Changeiywo, with the three Ethiopians hanging on without any problems.
Another searing 1000m, 3:03 this time, saw Ayalew drop off with five laps to go with Melkamu and Dibaba sticking behind the Kenyan with consummate ease. The trio ran shoulder to shoulder for the next four laps before both Dibaba and Melkamu kicked at 400m leaving Masai trailing behind. Dibaba started to move away from Melkamu at 200m before stopping at the finish line in 31:51.39 with Melkamu coming home in second for an Ethiopian one-two in 31:55.50 ahead of Masai, who ran a season’s best in 31:59.36. Dibaba’s final 400m was timed at 61 seconds, not as quick as her 58 second final lap at the 2005 World Championship 10,000m but good enough to send a small contingent of Ethiopian supporters based in Nairobi over the roof in ecstatic celebrations.
“All the injury troubles I had last year have gone away this season,” said Dibaba, who is now undefeated in all her seven career races over the 10,000m. “I knew that Linet would be strong at running laps and I prepared for that. I am very delighted about victory here. There was a lot of pressure coming into the race because we had not won gold. I did not want us to go home without gold.”
17.22m for Tosin in Triple Jump
Earlier in the day, Nigeria’s Oke Tosin won the men’s Triple Jump with a leap of 17.22m, a personal best which was just one centimetre shy of Ghanian Andre Owusu’s 17.23m championship record from Dakar, Senegal, set 12 years ago.
The 29-year-old, who holds a dual Nigerian and UK citizenship, was only one of two Africans (the other is South African Tumelo Thagane who led the African lists with 17.09m before the start of the championships) to have jumped beyond 17 metres this season with a leap of 17.05m in London in June. But after leaping 16.70 in his opening round and jumping 16.87 in both his second and third jumps, he unleashed his winning effort in the fifth round, but then skipped his last attempt knowing gold was secured.
Behind him, Thagane had a bad day on the jumping peat only managing 16.64m with his second attempt, which was only good enough for bronze behind Cameroon’s defending silver medalist Huge Lucien Schlek-Mamba, who jumped 16.78m for silver.
“I felt a bit tired after the fifth attempt and that’s why I passed my last one,” Tosin said. “I am happy about achieving a personal best and I hope to continue improving this season. The objective here was to do above 17 metres and I am happy with that.”
Anani beats Harmse in men’s hammer
The surprise of the day came in the men’s hammer where South Africa’s Chris Harmse, who has won the last four hammer titles in the African championships and overall has five victories in the event, suffered a rare defeat at the continental level to Egyptian Abdel Mohsen Anani.
In earnest, Harmse had a day to forget with only one throw beyond 70 metres and four fouls. But that should not take the credit away from Anani, the 2004 World junior silver and 2006 African championship bronze medalist, who threw better than 70 metres in all his six attempts and took victory with 74.72m. A disappointing Harmse won silver with 72.56m ahead of another Egyptian Mostafa Hesham El Gamel, who threw 71.40m for bronze.
Viljoen defends, Simpson returns
In the day’s other events, South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen defended her women’s javelin title with a championship record of 63.33m, five metres shy of the African record she set last month in Ostrava (66.38m). Compatriot Justine Robbeson was the only other thrower to manage above 60 metres with 60.24m ahead of Egyptian Hanaa Omar Hassan, who won bronze with 55.14m.
Ghana’s Margaret Simpson, the 2005 World championship bronze medalist, improved South African Junice Joseph’s championship record to take the women’s heptathlon with 6031 points ahead of South Africa’s Janet Wienand (5500 pts) with Lesotho’s Ts’oalei Selloane winning her second medal of the championships after the high jump gold taking bronze (5302 pts).
The men’s 110m Hurdles title went to Algeria’s Hadj Lazib in 13.77 with Nigeria’s Selim Nurudeen (13.83) and South Africa’s Ruan de Vries (13.98) taking silver and bronze respectively.
Kiprop and Jepkosgei fastest in qualifiers
In the day’s preliminary races, Olympic 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop was fastest in qualifying for the men’s 1500m in 3:43.33. South Africa’s reigning silver medalist Juan Van Deventer, Kenyans Silas Kiplagat and Nicholas Kemboi, Moroccan Amine Laalou, and Ethiopian Mekonnen Gebremedhin all qualified easily for Sunday’s final.
Kenya’s Olympic and world silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei also looked impressive in qualifying for the women’s 800m final. Moroccan duo Halima Hachlaf and Btissam Lakhouad, bronze medalist in the 1500m, are also through to Sunday’s final.
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF
Kenya captures five gold medals as African champs conclude in Nairobi
Host nation Kenya dominated the closing day of the 17th CAA Safaricom African Athletics Championships with five more gold medals, but there was plenty of drama, close finishes, and surprises at Nyayo stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday.
Yator’s slip gives Soi 5000m title in Kenyan sweep
The biggest drama of the day came in the men’s 5000m final where long-time leader Vincent Yator slipped in the final 10m of the race to allow compatriot and Olympic 5000m bronze medalist Edwin Soi to sneak through for victory in another clean sweep of the medals for Kenya.
After a slow opening two laps, the race picked up pace after three laps when Ugandan Moses Kipsiro, who had won silver in the 10,000m on the opening day, led three of his compatriots followed by a large pack of 26. But Yator, sixth in the World Junior Championships 5000m in Bydgoszcz, Poland, two years ago, was the first to make a real breakaway attempt at 3000m when he opened up a small gap over Kipsiro, with compatriots Soi and Mark Kiptoo edging ahead of Ethiopians Tariku Bekele and Imane Merga.
One lap later, Soi and Kiptoo overtook Kipsiro and virtually ended the event as a race among nations as they opened a 30m gap on the Ugandan. A pair of 63-second laps saw the gap widening with Yator marginally ahead of his compatriots at the bell.
For the first 350 metres of the last lap, Yator dealt with Soi’s customary finishing kick impressively before he lost concentration in the final 10 metres and stepped on the grass outside lane one and wobbled to stay on his feet. Soi, who had looked beaten before that moment, quickly sensed his teammate’s discomfort and powered ahead to overtake him at the finish line in 13:30.46 with an unfortunate second in 13:30.53. Kiptoo completed the Kenyan podium sweep in 13:32.45 ahead of Kipsiro with Ethiopians Imane Merga and Tariku Bekele finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
“When I saw Vincent [Yator] slip, I knew that I had the chance and decided to give everything for it,” said the race winner. “I am happy for my first African title and to win all three medals in the 5000m feels really great. We had a plan before the race to break away like that and I am very satisfied that it worked.”
Bouras stuns Jepkosgei in women’s 800m
While the clean sweep in the men’s 5000m was unexpected by the Kenyans, victory in the women’s 800m was largely anticipated by the partisan crowd.
And for the first 750 metres of the race, it looked like the World and Olympic silver medallist Janet Jepkosgei had worked out her pre-race tactics very well after taking the pack through the first 400m in 58.64 and easily holding off her challengers from behind.
The real drama in the race started in the last 100 metres. First Moroccan Halima Hachlaf, who had led the African lists this year with 1:58.40, was floored amidst the rush to the finish. Then, Jepkosgei, who had looked comfortable in the lead, begun to slow down in the final 20 metres running on lane 2. It was a mistake that she would regret as unheralded Algerian Zahra Bouras overtook her on the inside lane to take victory in 2:00.22. A stunned Jepkosgei came home second in 2:00.50 with Moroccan Malika Akkaoui clocking a personal best time of 2:01.01 for bronze. Bouras is the daughter of Amar Bouras, who coached Algerian middle distance star Hassiba Boulmerka. She is coached by Ahmed Mahour Bacha.
“I am impressed by my own performance,” said Bouras. “I saw that the Kenyan was tiring in the final metres and she had opened up the first lane and I gave everything I had. This victory is unbelievable for me. I used to do the 400m and it is only this year that I switched to the 800m. This is my first African championships and the first time I have run the 800m in a big competition. I am very happy.”
Kiprop holds off Laalou and Gebremedhin
There were no surprises in the men’s 1500m where Kenya’s Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop comfortably held off the challenge from the advancing Amine Laalou for his first African title, an improvement on his 800m silver in Addis Ababa two years ago.
Running from the front in the first two laps, the former World junior Cross Country champion took the leading pack through the first 400m in 53.65 and then 1:53.65 before Mekonnen Gebremedhin, fourth at the World indoors this year in Doha, took over the lead. The 22-year-old Ethiopian was marginally ahead of the pack with Kenyan Silas Kiplagat close behind.
At the bell, Gebremedhin started a brave sprint to the finish which did well to disperse a jostling and pushing chase pack. With 200 metres to go and with Gebremedhin still ahead, he was left with five genuine chasers before Kiprop and then Laalou overtook him at the bend. Kiprop never looked back before stopping the clock in 3:36.19 ahead of Laalou’s 3:36.38, with Gebremedhin edging out Kiplagat for bronze in 3:36.65.
“The race was fantastic and cheering squad was outstanding,” commented Kiprop on the rasping support he received from the crowd. “I have run with Amine and Mekonnen many times in Europe this season and knew that they were strong. I am quite delighted about the victory. My plan this year is to do well at the World Cup and run sub-3.30 if I get the opportunity.”
African record and third title for Wanjiru
Kenyan Grace Wanjiru broke the only African record of the championships when winning her third African 20Km Race Walk title in 1:34.19. The 30-year-old took the lead with 2km left and walked home with victory ahead of Tunisia’s Chaima Trabelsi with Ethiopian Aynalem Eshetu taking bronze. Ethiopia’s Asnakech Ararsa, silver medallist two years ago in Addis Ababa, was disqualified after 14km.
“I was planning to do a personal record here and I am happy about it,” said Wanjiru, who has now won three of the four African titles since the event was introduced in the program in 2004.
In the men’s corresponding event, Tunisian Hassanine Sebei clocked championship record time of 1:20.36 to beat Kenya’s 37-year old-veteran David Kimutai (1:21.07) and Algerian Hicham Medjeber (1:22.53). The 26-year-old, who was bronze medallist two years ago in Addis Ababa, was coached by Tunisia’s 2007 World championship bronze medallist Hatem Gouala until last year and said his legendary countryman was his inspiration for the victory.
“I connect with Hatem all the time over the phone,” he said. “He gives me a lot of advice and helps me a lot. He is an inspiration to me.”
Seoud shocks Meite, Osayemi just holds on
Earlier in the day, the 200m races had contrasting fortunes for the pre-race favorites. Nigeria’s Damole Osayemi, silver medalist in the women’s 100m and part of her country’s 4X100m relay winning team, took an expected victory to win her third medal of the championships. After a good start, Osayemi clicked into gear at the 100 metres and looked clear of Gabon’s Perennes Pau Zang Milama at 150 metres before slowing down towards the finish and nearly allowing South Africa’s Estie Wittstock to catch her. Nevertheless, Osayemi took victory in 23.36 ahead of Wittstock (23.50) with Milama holding off the advancing Delphine Etangana of Cameroon to take bronze (23.59), her second medal of the championships after 100m silver.
But the men’s 200m was a complete surprise with victory going to Egyptian Amr Ibrahim Mostafa Seoud in a history-making 20.36, an Egyptian national record. Pre-race favorite and Ivory Coast’s 100m champion Ben Yousef Meite was second in 20.39 with South Africa’s Simon Magakwe, the fastest African coming into the championships, third in 20.56.
Seoud’s outstanding effort in beating Ivory Coast’s 100m champion Ben Yousef Meite was the first North African victory in the men’s 100m or 200m sprints in the history of the championships. In fact, the only North African woman to win an African sprint title was the legendary Moroccan Nawal Mouatwakel, who won the 200m in 1984!
“I just decided to kill it,” said Seoud referring to his last ditch effort to secure victory over Meite. “I am surprised with the victory. This is the first year that I seriously trained. I have been preparing for this race in Colorado (he has been training at the University of Northern Colorado since November 2009 with Kevin Galbraith) and I am very happy.”
Chemos over Assefa in women’s steeplechase
The afternoon’s action started with the women’s 3000m Steeplechase in what was expected to be a dominating victory of world leader Milcah Chemos. After a dominant first half of the race in which she and Ethiopian Sofia Assefa dropped off their other challengers, she was given the race of her life by Assefa in a rasping sprint finish. At the end, Chemos held off the Ethiopian for victory in a championship record time of 9:32.18 with Assefa taking silver in 9:32.58. Kenyan Lydiah Rotich beat her compatriot Mercy Njoroge for bronze in 9:37.32.
Lambarki takes emotional 400m Hurdles title, Idris recovers from mourning to take high jump bronze
A major championship would not be complete without a few moment of real emotion. Nairobi 2010 produced two such moments. The first came in the women’s 400m Hurdles where Moroccan Hayat Lambarki (55.96) sneaked a surprise victory over Nigerian pre-race favorite Ajoke Odumosu (55.97) on the finish line. The shocked Moroccan quickly burst into tears after crossing the finish line and then again during the medal ceremony for the event.
The second came in the men’s High Jump, but had little to do with the event winner Botswana’s Kabelo Kgosiemang, who cleared 2.19m for victory. In a dramatic competition for second, four athletes cleared 2.15, but silver was awarded to Bong Matogno of Cameroon, while Fernand Djoumessi, also of Cameroon, and Sudan’s Mohammed Younis Idris tied for bronze. It was an emotional moment for Idris, who had heard about the passing of his father a day before the competition, but decided to compete on Sunday.
In the day’s other individual finals, Egypt’s El Sayed Abdelrahman beat African leader Gerardus Piennaar in the men’s javelin with a throw of 78.02m. Sarah Nambawa won Uganda’s first gold in the field events with a national record of 13.95m in the women’s Triple Jump. And Nigeria’s Miriam Ibekwe won the women’s shot put with 13.67m.
Kenya won its fifth gold of the day in the men’s 4X400m relays ahead of Botswana and Nigeria, while Nigeria Nigeria won an easy victory in the women’s event in 3:29.26. 800m specialist Janet Jepkosgei redeemed herself from losing in the women’s 800m final by anchoring Kenya to silver in 3:35.12 beating Senegal’s Amy Mbacke Thiam, whose country took bronze in 3:35.55.
Facts and figures - Kenya dominate championships
A spectacular firework display closed the 17th edition of the championships that saw a record 47 countries take part and 24 countries winning at least one medal. It was a fitting end to the campaign for the hosts who finished atop of the medals table with ten gold, seven silver, and eight bronze medals ahead of Nigeria and South Africa.
Benin will host the next edition of the championships in 2012 if they can confirm the backing of their government within one month.
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF
Senegal’s Sene shines at Africa Championships-Day One
Posted on July 29th, 2010 by Mark Ouma
zsene.jpg           zmarwa-02.jpg           zshotputrugby.jpg               Senegal’s Sene shines at Africa Championships-Day One
From left Senegal’s Amy Sene Africa’s new women’s hammer throw champion edged out Egyptian defending champion Marwa Ahmed Hussein (second from left). Burger (1727) lead Rolie Potgierter (1285) and Orazio Cremora (1256) in a South African medal  sweep in the men’s shot put. Left Kenya’s Wilson Kiprop (1740) leads Ugandan Moses Ndiemo Kipsiro (11.02) and Kenyan Geoffrey Mutahi (1767) in the sprint for the finish line in the men’s 10000m
Senegal’s Amy Sene stole the limelight on the opening day at the 17th African Senior Athletics Championships in the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi Kenya on Wednesday (28 July).
Women’s Hammer Throw
She set the championships alight with a Senegal national record of 64.11 in the hammer throw. Her previous record stood at 63.43m. In the process Amy brought to an end the winning streak of Egyptian defending champion Marwa Ahmed Hussein.
Besides holding the Africa record (68.48), Marwa has won the hammer throw at these championships in Brazzaville (2004), Mauritius (2006) and Addis Ababa (2008). This time she had to be content with silver medal courtesy of a modest 62.36m effort. Bronze medallist Florence Edem Apefa Ezeh established a new Togo national record of 57.94.
“It was a really uplifting experience when I took the lead from Marwa in the fourth round. She is great athlete and I feel all the hard work I put in training is paying off. ” says a delighted Sene.
She revealed what was behind her beaming smile. “I now look forwards to the honour of representing Africa with distinction at the Inter Continental Cup in (Split) Croatia next Month,” Sene declared.
Men’s 10000m
Back on the track, The Kenyan trio of Wilson Kiprop, Geoffrey Mutai, and Mathew Kisorio worked the crowd into a frenzy of excitement when midway through the race they broke away from the lead pack in the 10000m. For the next four laps it appeared ss though Kenya were set to win all three medal in the race.
Uganda’s 2006 Africa champion at these championships Moses Ndiemo Kipsiro, labour hard to close the gaps. He stuck to the back of Kenyan trio, responding in equal measure each time they executed a ‘fartlek’ to try and shake him off.
Unperturbed Kipsiro’s resilience the fans continued in their hilarious mood until Kisorio fell off the pace leaving Kipsiro to battle Mutai and Kiprop. Mutai lead until the bell when Kiprop surged ahead.
The Kenyans had read Kipsiro well as they injected pace at the start of the back straight to take out the sting in Kipsiro’s well known and effective finishing sprint. Kiprop held onto win in 27:32.91 as Kipsiro (27:33.37) piped Mutai (27:33.83) barely five metres from the finish line.
“We lead from the beginning and worked as a team knowing that it was in our hand to win Kenya’s first gold medal of these championships. Now I urge the rest of my teammates to come out here and follow the example we have set,” Kiprop declared.
Although he failed to repeat his gold medal winning feat at these championships in 2006, Kipsiro was satisfied with the outcome. “I thank God for what I have achieved. Beating Kenyans on home turf is difficult especially with that adoring crowd behind them” says Kipsiro. In contrast, fans witnessed the collapse of the expected Ethiopian challenge in the event lead by two time Olympic and World Cchampionships silver medallist Sileshi Sihine. 
Men’s Shot Put
Coming out of retirement South African Burger Lambrechts steered a South African clean sweep of the medals in the men’s shot put. After trailing teammate Rolie Potgieter for most of the time, Lambrechts clinched the gold medal with a last round heave of 18.63m. It was enough to piped his teammate Rolie Potgeieter by one centimetres and former Africa Junior Champions Orazio Cremora (18.27).
Winner at this championship in 1998 in Dakar Senegal, Burger was over the moon with delight. “It is a great comeback after retiring for five years. I am 37 years, old and broken. So wining today brings back fond memories and makes me very happy,” says Lambrecht. He also won this event at the 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja Nigeria.
Meite, Adigun, Okagbare sparkle as gold rush intensifies
Posted on July 30th, 2010 by Mark Ouma
zmeite-interview-01.jpg          zadigunwins-01.jpg          zblessing-wins-best.jpg          zmeite-02.jpg
From left Cote d’Ivoire’s Ben Yossef Meite (1345) won the men’s 100m. Second left Seun Adigun (1416) prevailed in women’s 100m Hurdles.  Second right Nigerian Bklessing Okagbare (1442) wins womens 100. Right (wide picture of men’s 100m final.
 Ben Youssef Meite made history handing Cote d’Ivoire their first gold medal at the Africa Senior Championships since 1996 on Thursday (29 July).
At the end of the second day of the contest the gold rush was well in motion. Nigeria, the defending champions South Africa and hosts Kenya are tied with two gold medals apiece.
Men’s 100
What’s more his winning time of 10.08 seconds in the men’s 100m is not just a personal best but also a new Cote d’Ivoire national record. Pre-race favourite Zakari Aziz (10.12) was second. South African bronze medallists Simon Magakwe (10.14) and Egyptian Amr Ibrahim Mostafa Seoud (10.18) each run lifetime bests. Inthe case of Seoud, he set a nationals record.
“I am happy that I have once again put Cote d’Ivoire on the African athletics map. We are a country with a rich history of sprinting excellence,” says Meite.
The Ivorian speaks with nostalgia when he mentions former Africa 400m record holder, the late Gabriel Tiacoh. “So I am not yet through with this competition. I will come back for the 200m and anchor the Ivorian 4x100m relay.
Nigeria strikes gold
Despite of several false starts Seun Adigun handed Nigeria their first medal at the Africa Senior Championships in Nairobi Kenya on Thursday (29 July).
Off to an aggressive start, Adigun covered the distance in 13.15 seconds to win the women’s 100m hurdles. She then went into a enthusiastic traditional dance with the Nigerian team management cheering and encouraging the jig.
“I want to thank God because without Him l would not have succeeded. First the many false starts and the resetting ofnthe staring blicks was a bit distracting. It is at such time that you need to be focused so that you do not become a victim of distraction. I hope to get a chance to better my personals best (12.88) when I represent Africa at the Inter Continental Championships in Croatia next month,” says Adigun
In contrast her teammate Blessing Okagbare had a relatively poor starts in the women’s 100m final. However she worked her way through the field and was first across the finish line in a championships record of 11.03 seconds.
This is a championships record as she betters Nigerian Mary Onyali’s 11.05 mark in Dakar Senegal in 1999. Gabon’s Perennes Pau (Ruddy) Ruddy Milama Zang (11.15), Nigerian defending champion Damola Osayomi (11.22) and Nigeria’s Agnes Osazuwa (11.33) followed in that order.
“It was a genuine challenge fighting back from the set back inthe beginning of the race. I am glad I succeeded. Now I am going to focus my thoughts on the long jump, says Okagbare She is the Olympic bronze medal in the long Jump.
Gabon’s Zang who as fourth in 60m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha Qatar was delighted at improving her national record by 0.04 seconds. “It is a privileged handing Gabon their first ever medal at these championships. I am positive this will not be the last medal I will win for Gabon,” Zang assured.
El Ghazaly pulls a hatrick, Bourrada a championships record
zel-ghazalythrow.jpg           zlarbi-bourrada.jpg          zcheruiyot.jpg          El Ghazaly pulls a hatrick, Bourrada a championships record
Posted on July 30th, 2010 by Mark Ouma
From left Omar El Ghazaly (1392) won the discus for the third consecutive outing. Algeria’s Lardi Bouraada (1004) set a decathlon champinships record. Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot (1718) prevailed inthe women’s 5000m and Morocco’s Nisrin Dinar won the women’s pole vault.
Despite a season plagued with injury Egyptian defending champion Omar Abdellatif El Ghazaly retained his discus title at the Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Nairobi Kenya on Thursday (29 July).
Taking on the task at hand with commitment, El Ghazaly claimed victory with a modest throw of 59.30. His compatriot Yasser Fat Ibrahim Farag (58.71) and Victor Hogan (58.11) followed.
“This is a huge consolation after suffering a setback in February when I pulled my hamstring while training in South Africa. Up until then I had high hopes this year after throwing over 64m in the Egyptian championships, El Ghazaly explained.
With his third consecutive championships title secured El Ghazaly sounds positive going forward. “Since recovering from my injury, I have been taking it easy and came hoping to make the Africa team to the Inter Continental Cup in Croatia next month,” says El Ghazaly. Men’s decathlon
Algeria’s Lardi Bourrada entered the record book after amassing 8,148 points to establish a decathlon champion record. This eclipsed Tunisia’s Djloubi Hamdi 7,965 mark set in Tunis in 2002. Fellow Algeria Mouerad Souissi collected a life time best of 7,818 to take the silver medal while third placed Guillaume Thierry (7,100) handed Mauritius their first medal of the championships.
Men’ Long Jump
A fourth round leap of 8.25 against a head wind of +2.4 enabled Khotso Mokoena to snatch the lead from Senegal’s Ndiss Kaba Badji (8.10). Nigerian Stanley Gbagbeke (8.06) settled for the bronze medal.
Women’s 5000m
For the fans who packed the Nyayo Stadium to capacity, the duel between Olympic 5000 champion Vivian Cheruiyot and Ethiopia’s four-time World Indoor 3000m champion Meseret Defar was the race of the day. Unfortunately for them the runners had other thought on their mind considering the race was at high altitude.
They run the race at a pedestrian pace and saved their effort for the sprint on the last lap. This played out to Cheruiyot’s advantage as she cross the finish line in 16:18.72. Defar who later complained that abdominal pains impeded her sprinting ability was runner up in 16:20.54, ahead of her teammate Sentayehu Tamerat Ejigu (16:22.32).
 Women’s pole vault
Morocco bagged their first medal of the championships when Nisrin Dinar cleared the bar at 3.70 in the women’s pole vault. Burundi’s Laetitia Berthier (3.50) was second as Cote d’Ivoire’s Sinali Alima Outtara (3.40).
For Kenyans the contest between Caroline Cherotich and Minnie Langat was noteworthy. Prior to the championship Cherotich held the national record at 2.65m. With the athletes gaining access to proper landing mats a few weeks before the championships, each set out to work hard. They tied at 2.80m, a new national mark, before Cherotich eventually pulled away with a new national record of 3.00m.
Libya’s Khawaja make history in dramatic style
Posted on July 31st, 2010 by Mark Ouma
zlibyawave-02.jpg          Libya’s Khawaja make history in dramatic style
Mohamed Khawaja fullfiled his date with Libyan athletics history. After his 400m victory the drama followed.
Mohamed Ashour Khawaja wrote his name into Libyan folklore in dramatic fashion on Day Three at the Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi Kenya on Friday (30 July).
Only those who do not follow athletics closely would not have foreseen Khawaja’s meteoritic rise to prominence especially after teamed up with renowned Nigerian coach Chief Tony Osheku less than a year ago.
In Nairobi, Khawaja progressed from modest 46.78 seconds in his heat, to the fastest time in the semi finals of 45.42. Then in the final accelerating with 180m to the finish, Khawaja cross the finish line in 44.98 seconds.
Still a youthful 22 years old, Khawaja has run the fastest time of his fledging career. The 2009 Mediterranean Games 400m champion also improved his national record of 45.35 set in Damascus Syria last year. Besides all this, never before since the first Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Dakar Senegal in 1979, has a Libyan won a gold medal at these championships.
The fast finishing Sudanese Rabah Yousif (45.18) was second, coming in 0.03 seconds shy of his personal best. Although the Democratic Republic of Congo’s  Africa 400m record holder Gary Kikaya and Kenyan Mark Kiprotich Mutai were credited with an identical 45.28 seconds, Kikaya got the nod for the bronze medal.
As he crossed the finish line Khawaja’s pointed towards the clock depicting his winning time. Then in unusual turn of events he went down and sat besides the clock. But that was not the end of the drama.
Khawaja breezed past the journalists in the mixed zone waiting to interview him. The things became more dramatic as he collapsed while before putting on his track suit. Organisers in the restricted area appeared to panic, while Khawaja’s coach Chief Osheku who has seen all this many times before was not overly concerned. As was the case at the end of the semi finals, Khawaja was stretchered out to the Nyayo Stadium emergency medical facility where a drip was attached to his arm.
“I am not too worried about the situation. This is a unique and deep psychological situation with this particular athlete. Without going into many details this happens whenever Khawaja runs a hard race,” Coach Osheku begun.
“After his semi final he wanted me to reassure him that the 45.42 seconds is a true reflection of his effort. I then reminded him of our pledge to make history. He lightened up, got off the hospital bed and was all smiles. You will see him beaming with happiness at the medal ceremony,” Osheku assures.
“For me this has been a special moment in my coaching career. I have trained a female African champion (and record holder) in Nigeria’s Fallilat Ogunkoya. Now I have achieved the same result with a male athlete,” says a nostalgic Osheku.
However Osheku concedes that there is one significant bridge that has yet to be cross with Khawaja. The new Africa 400m champion has yet to give an interview in whichever language he chooses to speak.
Oke break new ground, Dibaba lifts Ethiopian spirits at Africa champ-Day Four
Posted on August 1st, 2010 by Mark Ouma
zoke-jump.jpg          zethiopialift.jpg          z-new-hammer-reign.jpg          zsimpson200wins.jpg
From left Nigerian Tosin Oke (1452) wins men’s triple. Tirunesh Dibaba’s (1532) win lifts Ethiopian spirits. Egypt’s Abdel Mohsen Anani (middle) Africa’s new hammer throw champion. (Right) Ghana’s Margaret Simpson (1659) back to winning ways in heptathlon. 
Nigerian Tosin Oke, Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, Egypt’s Abdel Mohsen Anani and Ghanaian Margaret Simpson struck gold on the penultimate day at the Africa Senior Championships in Nairobi Kenya on Saturday.
Men’s triple Jump
After years confined in the shadow of his former training partner and current world Champions Phillips Idowu, Oke stepped out into the limelight with his fifth round attempt that saw him cover a distance of 17.22m (+1.5) to claim the triple jump title.  Cameroon’s
2 Mamba Lucien Schl. Hugo (Cameroon 16.78 (-1.4) and Tumelo Thagane (South Africa) 16.64 (+0.9) are the other medallists in the event.
What’s more, apart from adding 14 centimetres to his personal best, Oke was a mere one centimetre off Ghanaian Andrew Owusu’s championship record. Oke is four centimetres shy of the Nigeria record held by Ajayi Ajebaku.
“To me what was most important of all was to win convincingly. I have leaped over 17 metres several times in training, but injury always bogged me down when it mattered most. My previous best (17.08m) came many years ago at a low key meet in England. As an athlete with a big match temperament, I am delighted to break new grounds on Africa’s highest athletics stage,” Oke explained.
“Going forwards I aim to jump consistently over 17 metres both at the IAAF Inter Continental Cup next month and the Commonwealth Games in October,” says Oke.
Women’s 10000m
Once again the event boiled down to a showdown featuring Kenyan World Champions Linet Masai, Ethiopia’s double Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba along with her teammate and Africa record holder Meselech Melkamu.
After the rest of the field fell off the pace midway through the race, the trio settled into a rhythm with Masai leading and the Ethiopians comfortably trailing her closely. With 300m to the finish line, Dibaba unleashed her well known surge overtaking Masai. Melkamu responded also overtaking Masai. Dibaba held onto win in 31:51.39. Melkamu (31:55.50) and Masai (31:59.36) followed.
The victory lifted the spirit in the subdued Ethiopian camps as they had not stuck gold since the championship got underway. “I was under tremendous pressure to win. I am glad o have met my country’s expectation. Besides the injury troubles that kept me out of action last year are now truly over,” says Dibaba.
Men’s Hammer Throw
The long reign of the Africa record holder Chris Harmse in the men’s hammer throw appears to be coming to an end. Harmse has won the event at every African championship ever since South Africa returned to international sports in the early 1990s. This time Egypt’s Abdel Mohsen Anani (74.72) upstaged Harmse (72.56) with another Egyptian Mostafa El Gamel Hesham (71.40) returning home with the bronze medal.
“It is a humbling experience beating Harmse who has dominated the event in Africa for as long as I can remember. I hope to emulate his humility and friendly posture towards other athletes,” says Hesham.
Women’s Heptathlon
After taking time off to have a baby, Ghana’s Margaret Simpson is back to her winning ways in the seven discipline event. She amassed 6,031 points to claim the gold medal. South African  Janet Wienand who was the 2006 and 2008 Africa 400m hurdles champion appears to have made a successful transition to the heptathlon. She claimed the silver medal with 5,500 point. Lesotho’s Selloane Ts’oalei handed bagged her second medal with her bronze medal effort of 5,302. Earlier on Ts’oalei won the high jump.
Other gold medallists on the day were Tunisia’s Hamdi Dhouibi (4.70) and Algerian Othman Lazib Hadj (13.77) in the men’s pole vault and 110 hurdles respectively. Sunette Viljoen (63.33) carried the day in the women’s javelin. 
Hayat, Lambarki surprise, Amr, Nambawa shine, Kenya dominate Day 5-Africa Champs
znambawa.jpg     zhayatsurprise-02.jpg     zkenya5000msweep.jpg     zegyptjavelin.jpg     zasbel-kiprop.jpg    zamrseoud.jpg     zzohra-upstagejepkosgei.jpg     zjavelinmedalpodium02.jpg
zkgosiemang.jpg     Hayat, Lambarki surprise, Amr, Nambawa shine, Kenya dominate Day 5-Africa Champs
Posted on August 2nd, 2010 by Mark Ouma
Day 5 winners from top left, Ugandan Sarah Nambawa (triple jump),  Moroccan Hayat Lambarki (400m Hurldes), Kenyan 1-2-3 5000m sweep, Egyptian Eha el Sayed (javelin), Kenyan Asbel Kiprop (1500m), Egyptian Amr Seoud (200m), Algerian Zahra Bouras (800m), South African Sunette Viljoen (javelin), Botswana’s Kabelo Kgosiemang (high jump), Nigerian Damola Osayomi (200m).
Botswana’s Kabelo Kgosiemang and Egyptian Omar Abdellatif El Ghazaly each clinched their third consecutive gold medal at the African Senior Athletics Championships on Sunday (01 August).
Kgosiemang cleared the bar at 2.19m to retain his high jump title. While El Ghazaly’s modest throw of 59.30m was enough to carry the day in the men’s discus. Earlier at dawn Tunisian, Hassanine Sebei won the men’s 20km race walk in a personal best of 1:20:36. Egypt’s Eha El Sayed Abdelrahman (78.02) bagged the men’s javelin gold medal.
Elsewhere Sarah Nambawa handed Uganda their second medal of the championships when she won the women’s triple jump in a new national record of 13.95m achieved against a headwind of -2.9m per second. Nigeria’s Miriam Ibekwe (13.67) won the women’s shot put, while South African Sunette Viljoen (63.33) carried the day in the javelin.
On the track sprinter Amr Seoud clinched the men’s 200m gold medal. In the process, Seoud improved his Egyptian national record from 20.53 to 20.37 seconds on Sunday.  Nigeria’s Damola Osayomi (23.36) prevailed in the women’s version of the event.
Algerian Zahra Bouras was a surprise winner in the women’s 800m when she edged past Kenyan team captain Janeth Jepkosgei. Bouras crossed the finish line in 2:00.22 to Jepkosgei’s 2:00.50. “On the home straight I thought I had been hemmed in. Then I saw a small gap open on the inside lane and used it to my advantage,” says a delighted Bouras.
The other surprise women’s victor was Morocco’s Hayat Lambarki who piped a fading Ajoke Odumosi (Nigeria) at the finish line in the 400m hurdles. Lambarki clocked a personal best of 55.96 to Odumosu’s 55.97.
Without a shadow of doubt hosts Kenya dominated the final day of the championships. Grace Wanjiru Njue set the day’s gold rush in motion when she won the women’s 20km race walk in a new Africa record of 1:34:19. Tunisia runner up Chaima Trabelsi (1:35:33) was also well inside the old mark of 1:36.18.
Then when the track session got underway in the afternoon Milcah Chemos Cheiywa (9:32.18) won the women’s 3000m steeplechase. In the men’s contests Kenyans Asbel Kiprop (3:36.19) and Edwin Soy (13:30.46) won the men’s 1500m and 5000m respectively. After the Nigerian (3:29.26) women blew away the field to win the 4x400m relay. The Kenyans (3:02.96) men won the 4x400m 
Kenya eventually asserted their place at the top of the medal table amassing ten gold, seven silver and eight bronze medals. Nigeria are second with eight gold five silver and five bronze medal, while defending champions South Africa are placed third with six gold seven silver and six bronze medals. In all 24 countries returned home with at least a medal from the five day event that a televised live in 165 countries worldwide.


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