South Africa, Senegal and the host Kenya were the first Gold medal winners on Day One of the 17th African Senior Athletics Championships held at the at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya today.
Kenya ended Ethiopia's dominance in 10,000m after Wilson Kiprop led Kenya to gold but Uganda's Moses Ndiema Kipsiro spoiled the party by nipping in front of Kenyans Geoffrey Mutai and Mathew Kisorio to take away with silver medal.
Kiprop won the race in a time of 27:32.91 with Kipsiro second in 27:33.37 to take silver and Mutai settled for bronze with 27:33.83 and Kisorio fourth in 27:56.71.
An excited Kiprop dedicated his gold medal to his teammates after the race:
"It was embarrassing in Addis Ababa during the last championships because most of the Kenyans were even lapped. It was good to revenge in style and I dedicate this victory to the Kenya team and wish them all the best in the remaining races," said Kiprop.
In Addis Ababa in 2008, former world cross country12km gold medallist, Gebre Gebremariam led an Ethiopia's 1-2-3 sweep.
South Africa however stole the show from the hosts after 1-2-3 sweep of medals in the men's Shot Put.
African record holder Burger Lambrechts won the first gold medal of the championships with an effort of 18.63 with compatriots Roelof Potgieter and Orazio Cremona clinching silver and Bronze.
There was no stopping West Africans dominance in the sprints event. Nigerian women dominated the 100m women with Blessing Okagbare leading the qualifiers from the two heats while Obinna Metu was the fastest in the men's semifinals clocking10.37 seconds.
In the women's 100m hurdles, Senegal's Gnima Faye recorded the fastest qualifying time of the event at 13.58 seconds to set up a straight fight for gold in the finals with Seun Adigun of Nigeria, who cruised into the final in 13.59 seconds, the second fastest qualifying time of the two semi-finals
In the Men's 400m, Nigeria's Godday James, the bronze medallist from the 16th edition of the championships in Addis Ababa in 2008 ran the fastest qualifying time of 46.01 seconds to qualify for the finals, but has the African record holder, Gary Kikaya of Congo DR as well as Kenya's Anderson Mutego who holds the fastest pre-championships time of 45.22 to contend with.
The remaining two Nigerians, Saul Weigopwa (46.94) and Nigerian reigning champion Noah Akwu (47.03) also made it to the semi-finals.
Botswana's defending champion, Amantle Monthso dominated the women's 400m finals winning her heat comfortably with 51.77 seconds, the fastest qualifying time in the first round.
Other impressive qualifiers are: Nigeria's 2008 world junior champion, Folashade Abugan (53.64) and Senegal's 2003 world champion, Amy Mbacke Thiam (52.98).
South Africa's Khotso Mokoena and Senegal's Ndiss Kaba Badji led the men's qualifiers for tomorrow's Long Jump final as the only two athletes who made it automatically as the other 10 athletes could not go beyond the qualification mark of 7.85m.
They will be joined by Kenya's Tera Langat (7.72m), Mamado Cherif Dia of Mali (7.72m) Ghana's Ignisious Gaisah and Robert Martey (7.54m), Algeria's Issam Nima (7.65m) and Nigerian pair of Stanley Gbagbeke (7.63m) and Samson Idiata (7.65m).
Kenyan runners dominated the 800m heats as Sudanese ace Abubakar Kaki made good his threat to skip the 17th edition of the event. Kaki, who was tipped to give the Africa champion David Rudisha a run for his money in the race, was missing from action in the heats.
Rudisha won the second heat clocking 1:50.512 while Alfred Kirwa won the first heat the fastest of the four with a time of 1:48.66. Rudisha however expects faster times in the semis.
"I didn't want to push I just wanted to qualify for the semis," said Rudisha who missed Beijing Olympics with an injury and the World Championships in Berlin last year after failing to qualify for the final said after the qualification rounds.
"The third heat was also won by a Kenyan, Jackson Kivuva in 1.49.93 to show the country's intent of winning the race. World champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa was relegated to third spot in the third heat after clocking 1.51.81.
"I was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd so I was just wanted to make sure I qualify for the semis," said Mulaudzi of his third place finish.
Kaki is expected to represent his country in the relay events like he did in the last event in Ethiopia. It was Rudisha's first competition at home since he set the African record of 1:41.51 in Belgium two weeks ago that elevated him to the second quickest ever over the distance.