Beninese Odile Ahouanwanou (Heptathlon), Gambian Gina Bass (100m), Nigerian Amusan Tobi (100m hurdles), Ghanaian Rose Yeboah (Height), Kenyans Winnny Chebet (1500m) and Béatrice Chebet (5000m) flew over the women's finals of the day. On the men's side, the 100m final met the expectations of the privileged people of the Stade de la Cote d'Or in Mauritius.
Ranked number eight in the all-time list with 9.77, Ferdinand Omanyala, leader of the world ranking this season (9.85) had never won an African title in his young career.
The sprinter from the high plains won his first continental title, 9.93 (9.927) in an epic race. His runner-up, the South African Akani Simbine, was credited with 9.93 (9.930).
Ferdinand Omanyala was the protagonist of a scenario similar to an American blockbuster: Sub-10 seconds, tight finish, an unbearable suspense before the verdict of the photo finish and against the titleholder, South Africa's Akani Simbine. All the ingredients were present to make this 100m final the high point of this day two, perhaps even of the whole event.
"I hope that it is a Championships record", Omanyala said. But, the anemometer showed an impressive 4.5 m/s. This will be, without doubt, the only disappointment for the Kenyan prodigy.
"Akani is an excellent sprinter, I expected this title to be hard fought and difficult to win. But this scenario where we arrive both in the same time, and have to wait for the verdict of the photo finish... I didn't expect it at all. Those few minutes of waiting seemed to last for hours. But all this makes me savor this title even more," he added.
For Akani Simbine, African champion in 2018, it is difficult to hide his disappointment, especially when for a couple of minutes, he was probably convinced to retain his title.
"It was very intense both in terms of pure performance and emotionally. I'm very happy to have gone under 10 seconds, but a title is still a title. Now I'm looking ahead to the World Championships," said Simbine.
This close finish between the two references of the African sprint, one almost forgot that it is the other South African, Henricho Bruintjies, who completes the podium with 10.01.
The results are available here: https://maa.mu/results/schedule.html