CAA African Athletics Championships, Benin 2012 - Athletes to Watch

Nigerian Sprinters - Okagbare, Asunmu and Ozor

Some of the African champions and star athletes to watch out for at the 18th African Senior Athletics Championships which begin on Tuesday June 26 at the Stade d’Lamite in Port Novo, Benin Republic.

  • Amantle Montsho (BOT)

Amantle Montsho (born July 4, 1983) is a female sprinter from Botswana who specializes in the 400 metres and is the first Botswana woman athlete to reach elite world level. Montsho is the reigning World Champion over the 400m, winning in a personal best time of 49.56 in Daegu, Korea in 2011.

A two-time African Championships gold medallist over 400 m, she has also won gold medals in the event at the 2007 All-Africa Games, the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Her Commonwealth win made her Botswana's first ever gold medallist of the games.

Her personal best times are 11.60 seconds in the 100 m, 22.94 seconds in the 200 metres and 49.56 seconds in the 400 m. She trains at the High Performance Training Centre in Dakar, Senegal. She holds the national record for the 400 m both indoors and outdoors.

She also won the silver medal at the 2006 African Championships and finished fifth in the 200 metres at the 2007 All-Africa Games.

At the 2006 IAAF World Cup she finished sixth with the African 4x400 metres relay team. She ran a personal best and Botswanan record of 49.83 seconds to win at the 2008 African Championships in Athletics. She finished fourth (52.53secs) at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships: having set indoor national records in the heats and semi-finals.

  • Blessing Okagbare (NGR)

Blessing Okagbare (born 9 October 1988) is a Nigerian Long & Triple jumper and short sprinter.

Okagbare is the reigning African sprint champion from Nairobi 2010 and this season sets new personal bests in the 200m (22.63 at the PreClassic in Eugene early this month ) and the Long Jump (6.97m) at the Nigerian Olympic Trials last week in Calabar.

In 2010, Okagbare achieved the 100m/Long Jump double at the NCAA Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship and completed an undefeated collegiate streak. She won the Nigerian 100m title running a time of 11.04 seconds in Calabar and comes to Benin with a PB of 11.00 secs achieve at the Aviva London Grand Prix in Crystal Palace in August.

  • Sunette Viljoen (RSA)

Sunette Viljoen (born 6 October 1983) is a South African javelin thrower, who has won gold at the Commonwealth Games and African Championships. She won gold at the 2009 Summer Universiade in Belgrade, throwing 62.52m, but had earlier in qualifying set a new African record 65.46 metres.

On June 14, 2010 she improved her African record with 66.38m at the Josef Odložil Memorial in Prague.

She went on to win bronze at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Korea on 2 September 2011. With a throw of 68.38m, she also set a new African Record.

Again on June 9, 2012 she improved her own African record to 69.35m at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York City.

  • Ajoke Odumosu (NGR)

Ajoke Muizat Odumosu is a Nigerian 400m/400m hurdles athlete and national record holder. This season, she had ran 55.36 to win the Rabat Meeting International Mohammed VII d'Athlétisme de Rabat and 55.20 to place fifth at the Rome Golden Gala in May.

Odumosu defeated Beijing Olympics 400m hurdles champion, Melanie Walker (55.66 to 55.96 secs) at the Grande Prêmio Caixa Maringá de Atletismo in Maringa, Brazil in June 2010.

Also in 2010, she won the gold medal in the 400 metres hurdles at the Commonwealth Games, and was runner-up at the African Championships in Nairobi and also took a silver medal for Africa at the Continental Cup. She holds the Nigerian record in the 400m hurdles with a personal best of 54.59 seconds.

  • Godfrey Khotso Mokoena (RSA)

Godfrey Khotso Mokoena (born March 6, 1985 in Heidelberg, South Africa) is a South African athlete who specializes in the long jump and triple jump. In July 2009 he set a new African record in long jump, 8.50m in Madrid in an IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting where he finished second behind Fabrice Lapierre. The previous African record, 8.46, was held by Cheikh Toure of Senegal and set in 1997.


To be continued........

(Additonal information from Wikipedia)

Yomi Omogbeja is the Editor of Athletics Africa,Com - Africa's no 1 track and Field news and information website

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