Boulami stops Kenyans in their tracks
Omulo Okoth for the IAAF
8 August 2002 - Tunis, Tunisia - Morocco's world record holder Brahim Boulami stopped the Kenyans in their tracks tonight and in the process ran away with the 3000 metres steeplechase gold medal, as heavy rains pounded down on the Rades stadium on the third day of the 13th African Championships.
The Moroccan, whose 7:55.28 in Brussels last summer snatched the world record from Kenya's Bernard Barmasai, pulled away from another Kenyan former world record holder Wilson Boit Kipketer, and his compatriots Stephen Cherono and Ezekiel Kemboi at the bell. Raising his finger to signal victory with some ten metres to go to the finish, he crossed the line in 8:19.51.
Kipketer, who was breathing on his shoulders before the last 400m, was left gasping at the last water jump and could only settle for the silver medal in 8:20.92. Cherono, who is the newly-crowned Commonwealth Games champion and also the world junior steeplechase record holder, took bronze in 8:23.85.
"It is always special to beat the Kenyans, given their depth in this event. It is especially special for me to win an African title and join the team to the World Cup in Madrid. It is not always easy to beat the Kenyans. This victory is very special to me," said Boulami.
Cameroon’s golden girl, Francoise Mbango-Etone, added the women's long jump gold medal to her triple jump title with a jump of 6.68 metres. Kene Ndoye of Senegal took silver with 6.45 metres and Nigeria's Chinedu Odozor the bronze with 6.39 metres.
World 400 metres champion Amy Mbacke Thiam did not start the 400m final following an injury sustained in the semi-finals and so Nadji Kaltouma of Chad easily dashed to victory in 51.09. In second place was Mireille Nguimbo of Cameroon, who crossed the line in 51.61 and Tunisia's Awa Benhassine took third place in 52.22.
Eric Milazar of Mauritius won the men's 400 metres in 45.67. Sofiene Labidi of Tunisia took the silver in 45.87 and South Africa's Marc Lagrange the bronze in 45.95 secs.
Tunisia's Aida Sellam flung the women's javelin to the gold medal feat of 55.46 metres, followed by Nigeria's Ihuefo Sorochukwu (55.30) and Bernadette Ravina of Mauritius (51.49) metres).
South Africa won the women's 4x100 metres relay final in 45.60, followed by the Ivory Coast (47.15) and Ghana (47.41).
Maba Ndiaye of Senegal won the Decathlon high jump event in 2.03 metres, followed by Tunisian duo of Hamdi Dhouibi (1.97) and Anis Riahi (1.82metres).
South Africa's Llewellyn Herbert took the 400 metres hurdles first heat in 50.99, while Namibia's Willie Smith won the second heat in 52.14 secs.
3000M SC Final
1 Brahim Boulami (MAR) 8:19.51
2 Wilson Boit Kipketer (KEN) 8:20.92
3 Stephen Cherono (KEN) 8:2385
1 Eric Milazar (MRI) 46.67
2 Sofiene Labidi (TUN) 45.87
3 Marc Lagrange (RSA) 45.95
1 Nadji Kaltouma (CHA) 51.09
2 Mireille Nguimbo (CMR) 51.61
3 Awa Benhassine (TUN) 52.22
1 Republic of South Africa 45.60
2 Cote D'Ivoire 47.15
3 Ghana 47.41
1 Aida Sellam (TUN) 55.46
2 Ihuefo Sorochukwu (NGR) 55.30
3 Bernadette Ravina (MRI) 51.49
Long Jump Final
1 Francoise Etone-Mbango (CMR) 6.68
2 Kene Ndoye (SEN) 6.45
3 Chinedu Odozor (NGR) 6.39