AFRICANS SET TO DELIGHT WORLD STAGE IN LONDON

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Dibaba_GenzebeH1-PreC17.jpgGenzebe Dibaba, photo by PhotoRun.net

Dibaba_Tirunesh-Rio16.jpgTirunesh Dibaba, photo by PhotoRun.net

AFRICANS SET TO DELIGHT WORLD STAGE IN LONDON WRITES GESHOM NYATHI FOR THE AFRICA PAGE

This is the first column by Geshom Nyathi for @runblogrun. A long time sports journalist, writing for the Africa Page, Geshom will write a daily column for us on the athletes from Africa, where 52 countries have sent athletes to the 2017 London World Championships, August 4-13, 2017.

AFRICANS SET TO DELIGHT WORLD STAGE IN LONDON WRITES GESHOM NYATHI FOR THE AFRICA PAGE
EXTREMELY talented athletes from across the African continent are odds on favourite to dominate proceedings in most of the long track events at the 10-day IAAF World Track and Field Championships at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium in London starting on Friday night.
According to the released start list, the African side is loaded with quality and depth in races ranging from 800m up to the 10 000m, which is the longest of all track events.
However, the most dreaded, but enjoyable marathon discipline for both men and women, is yet another discipline for to show their usual prominence and prowess.
No question about it, the Americans and Jamaicans have always been the powerhouse in short sprinting events. But slowly and gradually, the Africans have shown their mantle as well. Talk of the men's 400m, South Africa's Olympic champion and world record holder, Wayde Van Niekerk, is targeting to retain his world title over the one lap and quietly attempting to stun them all in the men's 200m, including the great multiple wins of Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica.
Van Niekerk will definitely become the most dangerous and silent assassin, if his set goals go according to plan, and more so in that, he does not expose himself into too many races. Ivory Coast female sprinters Muriel Ahoura, Marie- Josee Ta Lou and Blessing Okgabare-Ighoteghunor of Nigeria, also deserve to be couted as notable sprinters.
Taking it on anything from 800m and above, the crowd, the audience and those glued on television screens should by all means witness exciting performances, coupled with dramatic and chilling celebrations around the track.
800m Olympic silver medalist Nigel Amos of Botswana, Conselus Kipruto in the 3,000m steeplechase, Ethiopian sisters - Tirunesh Dibaba and Genezebe - featuring in the 1 500, 5 000, Yomif Kijelecha - men's 5 000m, Djibuti's Eyeleneh Sulaiman - are partly some of the runners expected to deliver the goods.
In terms of representation, Kenya leads with with strong contingent of 50 athletes, followed by Ethiopia on 47. Next in line is South Africa 29, Uganda 22, Nigeria 18, Morocco 15 and Botswana 12. All in all - 52 countries on the continent have a fair share of their best athletes taking part.
The opening day of the championships has limited action in preliminary events, the short sprints and men's long jump where South Africa's Luvo Manyonga is the pre-event favourite for gold. Manyonga will have the backing of team-mates - the Olympic and world championship silver medalist Godfrey Khotso Mokoena and Samaai Rushwayl, as they attempt to occupy all three podium places.
Apart from the opening ceremony which is expected to be colourful and mouth watering, the men's 10 000m final just close to midnight, will feature Great Britain's celebrated athlete - Mo Farah who was knighted by the Queen for his sporting excellency over 5 000m and 10 000m races.
The Kenyan pair of Geofrey Kamurworo and Paul Kipngetich Tanui and Ethiopia's Amane Wote pose a major threat to the British star runner, who will by far, enjoy the most support from the terraces.

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