The third day of the 19th Africa senior Athletics championships – Marrakech 2014 – was a good opportunity for Botswana, Kenya and Nigeria to mark their presence on the African continent.
Kenya, as usual, dominated the podium in the 3000m steeplechase event with gold medal going to Jairus Kipchoge Birech (8:34.79) and silver to Jonathan Ndiku Muia (8:37.67), while veteran Ezekiel Kemboi settled for the bronze medal in 8:39.30.
In the 400m, Isaac Makwala, the African record-holder with 44.01 secs, edged out the Glasgow 2014 silver medallist from South Africa, Wayde Van Niekerk, to second place comfortably with the fastest 400m performance ever recorded at sea level in Africa (44.23 to 45.00) with Kenya’s Boniface Mucheru third in 45.07.
His compatriot Nijel Amos, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth champion took the men’s 800m title from Ethiopia’s world champion Mohamed Aman (1:48.74) and Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi (1:49.08), who is the Olympic champion in 1500m.
The other great moment of the day was the victory of South Africa’s Cornel Fredericks in 400m hurdles in 48.78 ahead of Nigeria’s Amaechi Morton (48.92) and Kenya’s Nicholas Bett (49.03).
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The third day of action was also successful for Nigerian female athletes who picked up 4 gold medals in women’s 400m, long jump, Discus and 4x100m relay.
Folashade Abugan (51.21) won the 400m event in a photo-finish from Zambia’s Kabange Mupopo (51.21) and compatriot Patience Okon-George (52.68).
Commonwealth champion Ese Brume added the African long jump title with a jump of 6.50m ahead of her compatriot Chinazom Amadi (6.40m) and Joelle Mbumi from Cameroon (6.25m).
Chinwe Okoro won the women’s Discus with a Championships and national record of 59.79m ahead of compatriot Nwanneka Okwelogu (51.66m) and Morocco’s Amina Elmouden (48.21m).
Nigeria won the gold medal in the men’s 4x100m relay in 38.80 ahead of Ghana (39.28) and Algeria (39.89). Glasgow 2014 double sprint champion Blessing Okagbare also anchored the Nigerian women to the 4×100 relay gold in 43.56 followed by Ivory Coast, without Murielle Ahouré, (43.99) and Ghana (44.06).
The two other finals of the day were won respectively by Kenya’s Hellen Onsando Obiri in 4:09.53 in 1500m and Morocco’s Rhiziane Siba, who cleared 1.80m to win the women’s high jump gold.