Kenya pip SA to take Africa athletics honours

2018-08-06 07:39
Caster Semenya
Caster Semenya (AP)

Abuja - Kenya edged out South Africa to finish top of the African Athletics Championship medals table after a five-day tournament blasted as "tedious" during its troubled build-up.

Kenya finished with 11 gold medals, six silver and two bronze with South Africa on nine gold, 13 silver and eight bronze.

Nigeria, the hosts of the championships staged in the southern city of Asaba, were third with nine gold, five silver and five bronze.

The 52-team showpiece event was not without some hiccups - from the delayed arrival of some countries to complaints of sub-standard facilities.

However, Ifeanyi Okowa, the governor of oil-rich Delta, said he was pleased that after the initial challenges, the championship lived up to its billing.

"We had only nine, 10 months to prepare for this championship and so it was a bit tedious at the start," Okowa admitted.

"But we were committed to deliver a great event and we did and we are all happy."

The next edition of the championships will be staged in Algeria in 2020.

Meanwhile, South Africa pocketed nine more medals on the final day of competition.

The national team completed their campaign with more medals than any other squad at the biennial championships.

Three athletes took home gold medals on the last day, spearheaded by another spectacular performance from Caster Semenya who won the 800m final in 1:56.06, adding to the 400m gold she won in a national record of 49.96* two days earlier.

"I was testing my limits and seeing how far I could go after running 49 (in the 400m) and 1:56.06 is a beautiful time," Semenya said.

"I couldn't have asked for more."

Ncincilili Titi also won gold in the men's 200m, charging over the line in 20.46, with countryman Luxolo Adams bagging bronze in 20.60 and missing out on silver by less than one hundredth of a second.

"I knew it was going to be tough so I just did everything I could to be prepared and be strong mentally so I could overcome any challenges," Titi said.

"It was a great experience and a memory I will cherish for a long time."

Adding another double to the team's tally, Ischke Senekal won the shot put with a 17.24m effort, and Mieke Strydom earned bronze with a 15.99m throw.

Other athletes who grabbed silver medals included Phil-Mar van Rensburg in the javelin (76.57m), Lebogang Shange in the 20km race walk (1:25:25), triple jump star Zinzi Chabangu (13.59m) and the national 4x400m relay men's team (3:03.50).

Hurdles specialist Wenda Nel also reached the podium, taking bronze in the 400m race over the barriers in 57.04 seconds.

* SA record subject to standard ratification procedures.

Read more on:    caster semenya  |  athletics


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