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Kenya Storms Nigeria, Wins Overall Africa Athletics Championship

Kenya emerged top as the 21st edition of Africa Athletics Championship concluded over the weekend in Asaba, Nigeria.

The East African nation bagged eleven gold, six silver and two bronze to win the overall title edging powerful South Africa who won nine gold, thirteen silver and eight bronze.

The tournament hosts, Nigeria finished in third position with nine gold, five silver and five bronze in the 52-team event that was closely followed by athletics lovers across the continent.

Morocco and Ethiopia complete the list of the top five teams.

Renowned for producing some of the world’s top track stars, Kenya dominated the track  events in the five-day tournament against the backdrop of serious logistical problems that saw teams delayed in Lagos for four days as the organisers failed to provide local transport.

Ifeanyi Okowa, the governor of Delta State, said he was pleased that after the initial challenges, the championship lived up to its billing.

“We had only nine, 10 months to prepare for this championship and so it was a bit tedious at the start,” Okowa admitted.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“But we were committed to deliver a great event and we did and we are all happy.”[/perfectpullquote]

South Africa were leading the medal table by the closure of the four day of the tournament but brave Team Kenya came on strong in the final day to top the medal standings for the first time since 2010 when they won the last title in Nairobi with ten gold, seven silver and eight bronze.

This is the fourth victory for Kenya in the history of the biennial athletics fiesta and this is poorest show for both South Africa and Nigeria in a decade.

South Africa had lined up top stars such as Olympic and world champion Caster Semenya who won the 400m and 800m.

“The team was highly determined, despite the hiccups, to represent the 45 million Kenyans,” said head of Kenyan delegation Abraham Mutai.

“We are now appealing for Kenyans to continue supporting Kenyan athletics even as we prepare for the world cross-country championships and world championships next year. We need more corporate and government support.”

Kenya’s gold medals were won by Hellen Obiri (5,000m), Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase), Samuel Gathimba (20km race walk), Julius Yego (javelin), Elijah Manangoi (1500m), Winny Chebet (1500m), Edward Zakayo (5,000m), Beatrice Chepkoech (3,000m steeplechase), Mathew Sawe (high jump), Stacey Ndiwa (10,000m) and men’s 4x400m relay.

Emmanuel Korir (800m), Grace Wanjiru (20km race walk), Timothy Cheruiyot (1500m), Celliphine Chespol (3,000m steeplechase), Alice Aprot (10,000m) and women’s 4x400m relay bagged silver while Fancy Cherono (3,000m steeplechase) and women’s 4x100m relay team settled for bronze.

The men’s 4x400m relay’s team bagged Kenya’s latest and eleventh goal medal yesterday in a well-executed plan that saw University of Texas El Paso student Emmanuel Korir cross the finish line for the rare medal.


During the closing ceremony, local organizing committee of the championship revealed prize money for athletes who won medals in Asaba.

Athletes who won gold medal will get a cash prize of $3000 each, silver medallists will be rewarded with ($2000), while bronze medallists will smile home with ($1000).

Over 120 medals were won at the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championship.

The next edition of the championships will be staged in Algeria in 2020.

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