Marie-Josee Ta Lou, photo by PhotoRun.net
Dida, Ayana, Dibaba, photo by PhotoRun.net
Geoffrey Kirui, photo by PhotoRun.net
Geshom Nyathi is writing African postcards for @runblogrun about the fine athletes from the African continent. 52 countries from Africa are represented in the 2017 IAAF World Championships. We thank Geshom for his enthusiastic columns.
12 MEDALS SO FAR BY AFRICAN ATHLETES writes Geshom Nyathi for the Africa Page
SIX African countries – Ethiopia – Kenya – South Africa – Uganda – Tanzania and Ivory Coast have bagged a total share of 12 medals before the start of today’s on-going 10-day IAAF World Track and Field Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London.
Ethiopia lying second behind the numerically bigger USA team scooped their medals in their respective men’s and women’s 10 000m races and marathon events.
Reigning Olympic and world record holder Almaz Ayana led the Ethiopians with a big win in the women’s 10 000 race in a world lead 30 mins 16.32s. Team-mate and pre-race favourite Tirunesh Dibaba picked silver in a season’s best of 31 mins 02.69s, ahead of Kenya’s Agnes Tirop in 31 mins 03.50s – a personal best for the year.
Ayana who was not troubled at all on her way to victory was complimented by Tamirat Tola who earned a silver medal in the men’s marathon won by Kenya’s Geofrey Kirui in 2 hrs 08.27s – his best time for the season. This year’s Boston marathon champion was a class apart his opponents without anybody breathing close to his shoulders.
There was a splendid performance by Tanzania’s Alphonse Felix Simbu who grabbed a bronze in the men’s marathon in 2 hrs 09.51s. The up-and-coming runner rolled back the great memories of Tanzanian long-time athletes in Filbert Bayi and Juma Ikangaa.
Kirui became an early inspiration for the Kenyan side at the on-going global championships. Their evergreen Edna Kiplaggat deservedly got a silver in the women’s marathon clocking 2 hrs 27.18s behind Rose Chelimo, a former Kenyan who ran for Bahrain. Chelimo had everything – stamina and endurance for gold in a personal best of 2 hrs 27.11s.
Surprisingly, the dominant runners from east African countries allowed Amy Cragg of the USA who took them stride for stride to earn a creditable bronze medal in 2 hrs 27.18s.
Another Kenyan – Paul Tanui managed a bronze medal in the men’s 10 000m race – clocking 26 mins 50.60s. The strong cast of African runners were humbled by the defending champion Mo Farah of Great Britain. The highly celebrated double-double 5 000 and 10 000m Olympic and world champion stopped the watches in a world lead time of 26 mins 49.51s.
Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei weighed for his country with a silver medal in the 10 000m in a personal best of 26 mins 49.94s in a fierce challenge to Farah in the closining stages of the contest.
South Africa were too prominent in the men’s long event with Luvo Manyonga leaping 8.48m to capture the first gold medal for the country. Manyonga started the championships as the hot favorite boasting a world lead of 8.65m. He faltered in his first jump, but the second attempt was was enough for the honours.
Compatriot Samaai Rushwayl had one his massive jump disallowed. However, he settled for a bronze with a leap of 8.32m. One other South African – Zark Visser was eliminated in the qualifiers.
Ivory Coast’s Marie-Jose Ta Lou sealed African success on day three of the championships on Sunday night with a silver in the women’s 100m race in 10.86s. The little built, but dynamic sprinter lost America’s Tory Bowie who blazed past the line in 10.85s.
The pair saw off the favoured Jamaican Elaine who came in sixth position, ahead of another Iviorain Muriel Ahouray. All in all – a great show by Ayana, Kirui, Manyonga and Ta Lou – up to this stage.