Bob Ramsak is in Asaba, Nigeria covering the African Athletics Championships. Bob is a long time keen observer of our sport, world traveler and friend. If you have read the IAAF website over the past two decades, you have seen his fine and thoughtful work. Bob looks at each event with eyes and heart open for a new experience.
His writings on the African Athletics Championships give us an intimate view of these continental championships. We thank him and the IAAF.
â€ªHi Africa! It’s been a hectic few days, we are well behind schedule, but the #CAAAsaba2018 African Championships is about to kick off. â€¬ â€ªToday’s Schedule: â€¬ â€ª15:00 100m Women Round 1â€¬ â€ª15:30 100m Men Round 1â€¬ â€ª16:15 10000m Finalâ€¬ â€ª17:30 Opening Ceremonyâ€¬ â€ª#Asaba2018 #AthleticsAfricaâ€¬ #caaasaba2018 #athletics #athletisme #asaba #africanchampionships
Dominating victories by Hellen Obiri in the 5000m and Marie JosÃ©e Ta Lou in the 100m along with a spirited battle between South African long jumpers Ruswahl Samaai and Luvo Manyonga highlighted the second day of action at the 21st African Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria, on Thursday (2).
Even after a cautiously sluggish pace in the early going, the pack in the women’s 5000m was reduced to six by the race’s midway point, predictably made up of a trio of Ethiopians and a trio of Kenyans, and mostly led by Obiri who exuded a confidence and power the other runners probably wished was infectious. When she made her break with about three-and-a-half laps to go, it was clear that at least that power wasn’t.
Pounding the track alone through the late afternoon sun, the reigning world champion quickly jumped to a 20-metre lead, extending it steadily as she made her way for home. Indeed, nobody was willing or capable of mounting a challenge.
“It was very hot but I know I prepared well,” Obiri said. “In championship races you use your common sense on when you should go. I was feeling good so decided that was the best time.”
Obiri clocked 15:47.18 to win by more than ten seconds and secure her spot on the African squad for the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018, where the distance she’ll race will be the 3000m.
“It will be a hard race so I plan to prepare more over the next few weeks,” she said.
Behind her, Ethiopians filed through single file to take spots two through four. Senbere Teferi Sora took silver in 15:56.48, ahead of Meskerem Mamo who clocked 15:57.38 for bronze. Hawi Feysa was next in 15:59.23, more than five seconds clear of Kenyan Lilian Kasait.
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