Kenenisa Bekele Wins Slow African 5k Champs, EME News by Alfons Juck, Commentary by Larry Eder


Kenenisa Bekele defended his 5,000 meter title in the African champs, with his brother, Tariku in fourth place. Conditions were hot, and a crowd of 10,000 watched Bekele do his thing.

If there was a poster child athlete for needing little recovery, one should look no further than Mary Akor, who, two weeks after the US Olympic Trials for women, won the Vancouver marathon in 2:37:52.

Tonight, we will have updates from the West Coast as the Payton Jordan Distance Carnival is this evening.


Kenenisa wins, three world leads

ADDIS ABABA (ETH, May 4): South Africa with 22 medals (12 golds, 2 silvers, 8 bronze) is the most succesfull country of 16th African Championships which ended today in Addis Ababa and were held first time in Ethiopia. Nigeria follows with 7-7-5, then Ethiopia 6-6-3 and Kenya as fourth 5-5-6. In points scoring (top 8) South Africa got 259 points before Ethiopia 218, Nigeria 209.5 and Kenya 203. This four countries were dominant and in total 24 countries won medals. Only 8 athletes (5 men and 3 women) defended their titles from 2006. In seven events new championships records were registered (4 men and 3 women).

During last day Ethiopian running star Kenenisa Bekele defended his title from Mauritius with winning the 5000 on home soil. He clocked 13:49.67 in not favourable altitude in slow race. Second Kenyan Isaac Songok who beat him at Bislett Games 2006 achieved 13:49.91 and third Ali Abdosh 13:50.64. World Indoor champion and his younger brother Tariku Bekele was beaten as fourth (13:53.03). That was the emotional highlight for spectators.

But elsewhere three world leading marks were registered. Reigning triple olympic champion Francoise Mbango of Cameroon confirmed her earlier 14.50 mark at home with 14.76 (0.0) winning mark and great series: 14.61-14.38-14.58-14.76-14.65-14.52. Two time winner from 2004 and 2006 Yamile Aldama won silver for Sudan (14.36). "I've been back into serious training for about 6 months. It's not easy to come back after a 2-3 year break. I took my time because I didn't want to compete before I was able to jump 14.50m again. The mark I achieved today is what I was expecting. The competition was not negligible. Now I need to keep training hard because much better performances are needed to be in contention at the Olympics," said Mbango.

Another sensational jumping mark by title defender Kabelo Kgosiemang of Botswana in High Jump. He not only jumped 230 in second and new national record 232 in first but also excellent and world leading 234 in third. He equalled so the meet record of Algerian Abderahmane Hamad from 2000. Only Jacques Freitag jumped more from African athletes (238 in 2005). Third world lead of last day was the biggest sensation. Kenyan junior Pamela Chelimo (19 years) improved at 800 m to 1:58.70 (11th all-time junior) and beat the all-time great Maria Mutola (2:00.47) in her last season. Another experienced runner Agnes Samaria of Namibia got bronze (2:00.62). Mutola won in the past African Championships four times.

"The time is a bit impressive at this altitude. Last August I was African junior champion in the 400m, but since then my coach told me that it wasn't my event," said Chelimo. "It's very hard to run at altitude. I came a little bit short. [Asked whether she was expecting such a fast pace] Not really," Mutola was quoted.

New meet record at women´s steeple by Ethiopian Zemzem Ahmed (9:44.58, PB) who is wife of Boston marathon winner co-coach Haji Adilo. Mekdes Bekele won silver for Ethiopia (9:59.52) and world junior record holder Ruth Bosibori of Kenya only third (10:00.18). On the other hand great Kenyan triumph at 1500 m as Haron Keitany (3:43.47) and Gideon Gathimba (3:43.56) took the top two places with Juan Van Deventer of South Africa third (3:43.63) and home favorite and World Indoor Champion Deresse Mekonen was only fourth (3:44.19).

In remaining sprints South African Isabel Le Roux clocked first ever sub 23 at 200 m (22.69, +1.5) before Kadiatou Camara of Mali with another national record 22.70 and 100 m winner Damola Osayomi of Nigeria third (22.83). African Relay champion Thuso Mpaung from South Africa was the winner of open 200 m race after 20.53 (+0.3) beating Stephane Buckland of Mauritius (20.62) and Fanuel Kenosi of Botswana (20.72, national record). African Games bronze holder Joke Odumosu of Nigeria won the 400 m Hurdles in good 55.92.

Nigerian Vivian Chukwuemeka defender her shot put title with 17.50 and African junior champion from last year Mohamed Ali Kbabou won the javelin for Tunisia (74.20, PB). Algerian Mohamed Ameur won the 20 km walk in excellent PB and event record 1:22:55 and Kenyan Grace Wanjiru got her second gold after 2004 with 1:39.50 in the same women race. Nigeria won 8th 4x400 m title with 3:30.07 as Botswana with Amantle Montsho as individual champion did not finish. South African men won only second title at 4x400 m (after 1992) with 3:03.58 with Sudan second (with world indoor champion Abubaker Kaki as anchor, 3:04.00).

Carole Fuchs posted interesting photos on her


PARIS (FRA, May 4): During first round of French Club Championships (Interclubs) Yves Niare confirmed shape of his life in Shot Put with 20.25 in Versailles. Junior triple jumper Teddy Tamgho improved his outdoor best in Franconville to 16.85 (+0.8) and European U22 silver holder from last year Nelly Banco equalled her PB at 200 m with 23.29 (+1.6) in Creteil.

BRNO (CZE, May 3): Kenyan Michael Karonei won the Brno Half-marathon after 1:04.40. Magdalena Mukunzi clocked female Kenyan win here with 1:13:25 beating Volha Kravtsova of Belarus (1:14:39).

BIALYSTOK (POL, May 3): Osaka discus finalist Piotr Malachowski achieved solid 63.10 m.

VANCOUVER (CAN, May 4): Kenyan Thomas Omwenga defended his title at 37th Vancouver Marathon in 2:15:57. US Mary Akor was the best woman (2:37:52). In all races 12 000 participants.

IRISHTOWN (IRL, May 2): Ireland´s World and European indoor participant David McCarthy clocked good 1:17.42 at 600 m season opener.

IRVINE (USA, May 3): NCAA indoor champion Reindell Cole improved during first day of Steve Scott Invitational to 817 (+2.0) in Long Jump.

OSLO (NOR, May 2): New Norwegian junior hammer record (6 kg) for Eivind Henriksen (70.17 m).

EME NEWS is news service relating to the sport of athletics. It is published on daily basis with additional updates, as required. Copyright is held by Alfons Juck, Perinvest SK, a.s., Krikova 10, 82107 Bratislava, Slovakia. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The redistribution and/or direct reproduction of material from EME NEWS is prohibited unless permission is given by c Perinvest SK (such as being included in a subscription agreement).Email to respond: [email protected]

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