–Wins19th African Athletics Championships
By Dare Esan:
South Africa has dethroned Nigeria as champions of African athletics after picking two more gold medals on the final day of the African Athletics Championships to increase its total haul to 10 gold, five silver and four bronze medals while Nigeria came second with eight gold, nine silver and seven bronze medals.
Kenya, who could have been back-to-back winners in 2012 after winning on home soil in 2010 had the Confederation of African Athletics annul Nigeria’s 4x100m women result and withdraw the gold medal following the positive dope test of Lawreta Ozoh, who anchored the team to gold and a new championships record, came third with seven gold, seven silver and nine bronze medals.
Cote D’Ivoire came fourth with the three gold won by the sprint duo of Wilfred Kofi Hua (100m,200m) and Ahoure Muriel (200m).
A total of 569 athletes from 47 nations participated in the five days of the competition held at the Grand Stade de Marrakech in Marrakech,Morocco.
In some of the events decided on Thursday, Divine Oduduru of Nigeria found the going really tough in the men’s 200m and could only finish sixth in 20.81 seconds. The gold was won by Cote D’Ivoire’s Wilfred Kofi Hua (20.25) who successfully completed a sprints double after winning the 100m title on Monday.The duo of Botswana’s Isaac Makwala (20.51) who won the 400m gold days earlier and USA-based Kenyan, Carvin Nkanata (20.53) won the respective silver and bronze medals.
In the women’s version, Cote D’Ivoire’s Ahoure Muriel expectedly coasted home to her first African championship title with a 22.36 seconds personal season’s best. Her compatriot, Marie Goneze (22.87) picked the silver while Dominique Duncan of Nigeria won the bronze in 22.98.
Defending champion, Gloria Asumnu (23.31) of Nigeria and her compatriot, Regina George (23.53) finished fifth and sixth respectively.
It was a silver finish for Nigeria in the women’s 400m where Amaka Ogoegbunam ran a new 55.46 seconds personal best to come second behind South Africa’s Wenda Theron who ran 55.32 seconds to win the title. Kenya’s Fransisca Koki ran 55.84 to win the bronze medal.
Like Asumnu,Chinwe Okoro also failed to succesfully defend her Shot Put title as Cameroun’s Auriol Dongmo Mekemnan put a new 16.84m personal best to win the gold while Okoro, winner of the discu throw title two days earlier setlted for the silver with her 16.40m effort.The bronze medal was won by South Africa’s JORDAAN Lezaan (15.31m) while the second Nigerian in the event,USA-based OKWELOGU Nwanneka (15.14m) came fourth.
Cameroun also picked the triple jump gold medal as MBUMI NKOUINDJIN Joelle hopped, stepped and jumped 14.02m to emerge African champions with Ghana’s EKE Nadia (13.40m) and Ibrahim Blessing of Nigeria (13.35m) picking the silver and the bronze medals respectively.
Nigeria however won the women’s 4x400m gold in 3:28.87 seconds.