South Africa, Ivory Coast and Kenya shine at Athletics Championships in Nigeria

After rather controversial and demoralising pre-African Championships scenarios, where over 300 athletes were stranded at the Lagos Airport in Nigeria, the event has finally kicked off with stories of medals and champions taking over.

South Africa’s Commonwealth Games champion Akani Simbine won the men’s 100 metres with Marie Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast the women’s winner at the African Championships on Thursday.

Men’s 100m

Simbine won his race into a headwind in 10.25 seconds.

I know for now I am going to represent Africa in the Continental Cup so this made me want to work harder and train more. It is a great feat.

“For me, it is marvelous,” he said. “I know for now I am going to represent Africa in the Continental Cup so this made me want to work harder and train more. It is a great feat.”

Winners at the championships earn berths on the African team in the Continental Cup which matches teams from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, the Americas, South America and the United States on Sept. 8-9 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Arthur Cisse of Ivory Coast took 100m silver in 10.33 while South Africa’s Simon Magakwe got the bronze in 10.35.

Women’s 100m

Ta Lou, the year’s fastest woman at 10.85 seconds, prevailed in her race in 11.15.

“I would have done 10 seconds but the wind was not favourable to me,” she said of the 2.3 metres per second headwind.

Second place went to Ghana’s Janet Amponsah (11.54) with Joy Udo-Gabriel of Nigeria third (11.58).

Women’s 200m

Africa’s top 200m woman, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, pulled out of that competition, according to media reports.

Obiri, the year’s fastest, was an easy winner in the 5,000, finishing more than seven seconds ahead of the field in 15:47.18.

Ethiopians Senbere Teferi (15:54.48) and Meskerem Mamo (15:57.38) trailed.

Men’s long jump

Ruswahl Samaai surprised world champion Luvo Manyonga in a showdown of South African long jumpers with Samaai winning with a leap of 8.45m on his fourth attempt.

Manyonga, the reigning African champion, was two cm behind.

Women’s 100m hurdles

Oluwatobiloba Amusan of Nigeria won the women’s 100m hurdles gold medal with a time of 12.86 seconds. Rikennete Steenkamp of South Africa (13.18) and Rosvitha Okou of Ivory Coast (13.39) took the silver and bronze.

“I am not surprised, because I have prepared hard for this all year,” Amusan said.”My target at the Continental Cup is to do the best I can.”

More winners

Other winners included Nigeria’s Enekwechi Chukwuebuka (shot put, 21.08m) and Morocco’s Zakour Soukaina (women’s Hammer throw, 68.28m).

Kenyan world and Commonwealth Games champion Hellen Obiri also claimed African gold, winning the women’s 5,000m.

Transportation problems that left several hundred athletes stranded at Lagos airport, some for nearly three days, forced a major revision of the competition timetable on Wednesday with officials apologising on Thursday for the shortcomings.


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