Reigning African Games champion, Alice Aprot spearheaded a Kenyan sweep in the women’s 10,000 metres with a new Championship record at the 20th African Senior Athletics Championships in Durban on Saturday.
For much of the race Alice Aprot ran on her own as the field stretched out considerably over the 25 laps with the Kenyan stopping the clock in a world-leading time this year of 30:26.94.
Aprot smashed a previous best of 31:24.18 from her 2015 African Games title-winning run by almost a minute.
“I am happy with the time,” the 22-year-old said after the race.
“I ran my previous best in Brazzaville and running this time is important to me as it is an Olympics year. Winning the title gives me confidence for the (Kenyan) Olympic trials next week,’” Aprot added.
She was followed by compatriots Jackine Chepngeno and Joyline Jepkosgei in 31:27.73 and 31:28.28 respectively.
Women’s world championships javelin bronze medalist Sunette Viljoen of South Africa won her fifth continental title with a best throw of 64.08m.
Compatriot Jo-Ane van Dyk came second with a heave of 56.22m and Benin’s Pacaline Adanhoegbe took bronze with 54.88m.
“I am very proud of that victory. I have been able to compete continuously for such a long time and to be the best in the continent,” Viljoen said.
“To be the best in your continent, you cannot take anything for granted. It is very special.
“I wanted to throw a 65m tonight, but I got very close to that distance.”
Nigerian Tosin Oke claimed his third African men’s triple jump title with a best leap of 17.13m.
Fabrice Zango of Burkina Faso won silver with 16.81m and Beijing Olympics long jump silver medalist Khotso Mokoena of South Africa rounded off the podium with 16.77m.
World 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa produced his second fastest time in the 200m heats, clocking 20.03 seconds.
Van Niekerk said he would take aim at the South African 200m record of 19.87, which would better Namibian sprinter Frankie Frederick’s African championships record of 19.99.
“All of us are seeking to better ourselves and if in that process a national record comes, I will be really grateful,” Van Niekerk said.