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kenya tops medal standings as curtains come dix-neuf on Asaba 2018

KenyaSacreKenya finished its Asaba 2018 outing in remarkable style winning six gold medals on the final day, that ensured the East African nation topped the African championships medal standings after five days of action.

However it was Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Caster Semenya who stole the limelight as they powered to their second gold medal son Sunday at the Stephen Keshi stadium.

Kenya’s clean sweep!

World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech kicked off the gold chase ensuring Kenya maintains her steeplechase tradition, as she led a sweep of the medals in dominant fashion.

Fresh from her 8:44.32 world record run in Monaco last month, Chepkoech led from the gun to the finish to win her first career steeplechase medal. The 2018 Commonwealth Games 1500m silver medallist had set her mind on a quick race and when she broke off after the first lap, compatriot Celphine Chespol followed her after the third lap leaving Fanny Chemutai, running neck to neck with Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai. At the bell Chepkoech stepped on the gas as she crossed the line in 8:59.88, with Chespol a distant second in 9:09.61. Kenya’s Fanny Cherono settled for bronze in 9:22.92.

Chepkoech who won silver at Gold Coast was delighted with her victory, her fifth this season, after three Diamond League wins and the national championship title in Nairobi.

“We had agreed to break off early in the race and we all fall out in medal positions. That’s how it happened, I decided early on it would be the gold and am delighted it ended that way,” said Chepkoech of her second major feat in a fortnight.

16-year-old wins 5000 title

The Kenyan party gained momentum as teenager Edward Zakayo grabbed the 5000m gold just minutes after Julius Yegohad regained his javelin title.

Zakayo who is only a year old on the global scene, stamped his mark with his first senior title.

The 16-year-old produced a classic run in the final 400m, going past Eritrean YenameHaileselassieand Ethiopian GetanehTamireto win his fourth career medal in a time of 13:48.58.

Zakayo’s age duly showed upon crossing the tape. His tongue popped out, eyes and face towards the Kenyan contingent in the pavilion before he jumped up in delight.

The newly crowned javelin champion Yego lifted him up before wheeling away in celebration with the red, green and black flag.

“I am happy to have won the gold medal,” Zakayo who holds the World Youth 3000m silver, Commonwealth 5000m bronze and World junior 5000m gold said.

“I am now going for the Continental Cup in Czech Republic and I hope I can win the gold medal there.”

Tamire, the reigning All Africa Games championoverly delighted upon taking the silver whereas Eritrean Haileselassie, the 2016 world championships settled for bronze.

Yego bounces back

After a difficult last season, Olympic silver medallist Yego finally got his breakthrough with a third continental title. Yego broke through 77m with his first attempt of 77.27m and followed it with his winning mark of 77.34m. His final attempt to get past the 80m mark fell short at 74.76 but it was enough to win him the gold that he last won at Marrakech 2014.

The Kenyan was the only man with a 77 from the field as South Africa’s Philmar Van Resnburg settled for Silver in 76.57 and Nigeria’s Kure Adams hitting 75.69 for bronze.

“Winning is good and it’s gold for Kenya,” said Yego pleased with his win but disappointed with his throws.

“The distance is not pleasing at all, I’m not happy at all.”

Another 1-2 for Kenya

The Kenyan pair of Elijah Manangoi and Timothy Cheruiyot smartly pulled away at the bell en route to taking 1500m gold and silver respectively.

World and Commonwealth champion Manangoi posted a winning time of 3:35.20 whereas, his training mate like in Durban two years ago, took silver in a time of 3;35.93

Behind them, Ugandan Ronald Musagala(3:36.41)needed to beat off Djibouti’s AyanlehSouleiman in the final 60m to win his first career medal after a five-year wait.

It had been a pretty fast race with the plucky field only breaking down in the final 800m.

There was finally a front five heading into the final bend to the 1200m mark before two man race for the line.

Ta Lou rules Asaba

TalouAsbaIt was never in doubt that Ta Lou would defend her 200m, after her dash gold on Friday. She was quick off the blocks and topped it up with an equally fast finish. The Ivorianboldly crossed the finish line way ahead of rest of the field in 22.50 seconds, the first athlete to win two titles at Asaba 2018.

Bevina Abessolo took silver as Janet Amponsah added her second medal for Ghana at Asaba in 23.38. Ghana’s Amponsah clinched silver in the 100m.

The gold was Ta Lou’s third medal at Asaba, after the 4x 100m relay silver.

NcincililiTiti was the toast of the men’s 200m earning his second African championship title in 20.46. Nigeria’s Oduduru Ejowyokoghene crushed what would have been a 1-2 for South Africa in a photo-finish with Luxolo Adams bothtiming 20.60.

Semenya seals double

SemenyaLaMiseFor Semenya the two-lap run was a good test after the 400m win on Friday. And at the bell the three-time world champion was way clear off Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba.She bossed the race winning in 1:56.06.

“The focus here was 400m,”said Semenya, who won gold at London and Rio Oympics, content after retaining her 800m title.

“I wanted to see how I will bounce back in the 800m after the 400m and to run a 1:56 a day after I’m satisfied.”

The 2016 Olympic silver medallist Niyonsaba finished second in 1:57.97 as BayihHabitam Alemu took bronze for Ethiopia in 1:58.86.

It’s all ‘glorious’ in the 400m hurdles

Glory Nathanielhad got the host nation to a fantastic start winning the 400m hurdles title in 55.53 ahead of Morocco’s LamaieLhabz(56.660 and WendaNel of South Africa(57.04).

Ethiopia and Kenya claim walk honours

Ethiopia’s YehualeyeBeletew denied Kenya’s Grace Wanjiru what would have been her seventh 20km walk African title in Asaba. Beletew, the Rio 2016 finalist went head to head with Wanjiru, , but dropped her off in the final kilometres to win in 1:31.46 and improve on the silver from Durban 2016.

39-year-old Wanjiru, who has dominated the women’s walk since Brazzaville 2004 finished second in 1:35.5 while Tunisia’s ChahinezNasri added another bronze after the third place in Durban in 1:37.2.

The men’s walk was a closely contested affair but Samuel Gathimba sauntered to his second African title in 1:25.13. Lebogang Shange, fourth at the 2017 worlds took silver in 1:25.24 as Tunisia won another bronze through HassanineSebei in 1:25.39.

Nigeria, Kenya top relays

4nigeria Relai WomenThe 4x400m quartet of Yinka Ajayi, AbikeEgbeniyi, FolashadeAbugun and Patience Okon-Georgerounded off Nigeria’s golden performance with the 4 x400m title in 3:31.17.Kenya (3:35.45)and Zambia(3:38.18)took silver and bronze respectively.

Kenyans were the last on the Asaba podium as the men’s relay team of Jared Momanyi, Alphas Kishoyan, Harun Koech and Emmanuel Korir convincingly took gold in 3:00.92.

South Africa was second in 3:03.50 while Nigeria placed third in 3:04.88.

Ishke Senekal of South Africa won the women’s shot put with her fourth round hurl of 17.24m that placed her ahead of Jessica Da Silva Inchude of Guinea Bissau(16.76m) and teammate Mieke Strydom(15.99).

Siba Ghizlane won Morocco’s second gold at Asaba with a jump of 1.83m, as Swaziland landed its first medal through Nonhlanhla Erikah Seyama(1.80). Egypt’s Hoda Hagras was the bronze holder.

Nigeria’s Anigbata Grace nailed the triple jump gold with 14.02, as South Africa’s Zinzi Chambangu(13.59) placed second as Leratoo Lydia of Lesotho won her nation’s only medal with 13.31m.

The top two athletes in each event will represent Africa at the Intercontinental Cup in Ostrava on 8-9 September.