The women’s 10,000m produced one of the major highlights of the fourth day of athletics at the African Games in Rabat, with Ethiopia stamping their authority in the event on Thursday (29).
Tsehay Gemechu ensured her teammates followed the game plan to the latter. Halfway into the race, the Ethiopian trio of Gemechu, Zeineba Yimer, Dera Dida and Kenya’s Irene Jepchumba disengaged from the rest of the pack. Jepchumba tried to keep up with Gemechu, staying in second place, but at the sound of the bell, the latter sped away. Her compatriots took that as a signal and followed hard after her, eventually overtaking the Kenyan while Gemechu took gold in 31:56.92. The silver medal went to Yimer (31:57.95) while Dida took bronze with 31:58.78.
Ethiopia wasn’t the only nation to achieve a sweep of the medals on Thursday as Egypt finished 1-2-3 in the men’s hammer, replicating their feat from the 2018 African Championships.
Two-time African champion Mostafa Elgamel retained his title with a best effort of 72.50m, which he secured at his fourth attempt. The Egyptian set the pace for his compatriots, Alaa El Ashry (72.04m) and Eslam Mohamed (71.36m) who completed the podium.
Lahoulou and Cherabi retain titles, Brume takes long jump
Following the disqualification of world U20 champion Sokwakhana Zazini in the semifinals, Algeria’s African champion Abdelmalik Lahoulou started as the favourite for the men’s 400m hurdles final. He retained his title in a season’s best of 49.08, while Bienvenu Sawadogo and Amine Mohammed Touati clocked PBs of 49.25 and 49.29 respectively to place second and third.
Lahoulou’s compatriot Hichem Cherabi successfully defended his pole vault title from four years ago, clearing 5.00m. Majdi Chahata of Tunisia and decathlon winner Larbi Bourrada were second and third with 4.70m.
Three-time African long jump champion Ese Brume won her first African Games title with a leap of 6.69m. The Nigerian, who soared to a personal best of 7.05m a few weeks ago, had an easy win as each of her jumps were good enough for gold. Ghana’s Deborah Acquah (6.37m) and Lynique Beneke (6.30m) of South Africa took the silver and bronze respectively.
Chioma Onyekwere proved too strong for the South African duo of Yolandi Stander (57.75m) and Iscke Senekal (53.95) in the women’s discus. After fouling on her third and fourth attempts, the Nigerian produced her gold-winning throw of 59.91m on her fifth attempt.
Gambian record-holder Gina Bass ran the fastest time in the women’s 200m semis on Thursday, clocking 22.76 to top the standings ahead of Friday’s final. World silver medallist Marie Josée Ta Lou won her race in 23.30.
In the men’s event, Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru comfortably won his 200m semi in 20.45. Teammate Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Sydney Siame of Zambia won the other two races in 20.76 and 20.67 respectively.
Yemi Olus for the IAAF