NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 13 – For the fifth time, Kenya finished top of the medal standings at the Africa Senior Athletics Championship which ended in Mauritius on Sunday, after accumulating 23 medals in the five-day Championship.
Only South Africa had more medals than Kenya, after clinching 36, but the former finished second by virtue of having lesser gold medals, with nine against 10.
On the final day of competition, Kenya clinched a whooping five gold medals to ensure they finished top, just like they did at the last Championship in Asaba, Nigeria, in 2018.
Emily Ngii, Samuel Gathimba, Julius Yego, Abel Kipsang and Jarinter Mwasya provided the gold medals for Kenya on the final day of competition.
Ngii and Gathimba clinched gold medals in the women and men’s walk respectively, Ngii clocking 1:34:30 to finish ahead of Ethiopian Beletew Mitiku. Sylvia Kemboi timed 1:39:40 to finish third and ensure Kenya had two medals on the podium.
In the corresponding men’s event, Gathimba clocked 1:22:40 to finish top ahead of South Africa’s Wayne Snyman. Kenya’s World Under-20 Champion Heristone Wanyonyi could not finish after dropping off.
Yego meanwhile beat Kip Keino Classic Abdelrahman Ihab of Egypt to gold in the men’s javelin with a best throw of 79.62m in his second attempt. Ihab’s best throw was 77.12m.
However, Yego said he could have thrown better were it not for the wet conditions in Mauritius that made it difficult for the javelin throwers to have a proper grip.
Compatriot Alex Kiprotich finished fifth with a best throw of 70.36m.
Kipsang, the Olympic fourth placed finisher continued with his impressive start to the season as he won the men’s 1500m 3:36.57, edging out South Africa’s Ryan Mphahlele in a tight sprint finish.
Kumari Taki finished outside the medal brackets as he came fourth in 3:38.31, his last ditch effort at edging out Ethiopian Kasaye Embaye on the line falling off.
In the women’s 800m, Mwasya clocked 2:02.80 to win the gold medal ahead of Ethiopia’s Netsanet Desta. Brenda Chebet finished sixth while Naomi Korir was eighth.
In the women’s steeplechase final, Kenya once again played second fiddle to Ethiopians with Woldemanuel Werkuha winning gold ahead of Kassa Zerfe for an Ethiopian 1-2 finish. Kenya’s Caren Chebet was third for bronze in 9:43.64.
Daniel Simiyu was second in the men’s 800m to clinch Kenya a silver medal, same as the women’s 4x400m relay team.
Kenya’s medalists in Mauritius
Gold: Ferdinand Omanyala (100m), Winny Chebet (1,500m), Beatrice Chebet (5,000m), 4x100m (men), Caroline Nyaga (10,000m), Samuel Gathimba (20km race walk), Emily Ngii (20km race walk), Abel Kipsang (1,500m), Jarinter Mawia (800m), Julius Yego (javelin)
Silver: Purity Chepkirui (1,500m), Nicholas Kiplagat (1,500m), Maximilla Imali (200m), Daniel Simiu (5,000m), Women’s 4x400m relay
Bronze: Caroline Nyaga (5,000m), Abraham Longosiwa (10,000m), Geoffrey Kirwa (3,000m steeplechase), Veronica Mutua (400m), 4x400m relay women, Sylvia Kemboi (20km race walk), Wiseman Were (400m hurdles), Caren Chebet (3,000m steeplechase)