01 AUG 2009 General News Bambous, Mauritius

More championship record fall in Bambous - African junior champs, Day 3

Cheyne Rahme vaulting the the African junior title in the pole vault (Clyde Koa Wing)Cheyne Rahme vaulting the the African junior title in the pole vault (Clyde Koa Wing) © Copyright
South African Cheyne Rahme and Egyptian Rana Taha established championships records on the third day of the Africa Junior Championships at the Germain Comaramond Stadium in Bambous, Mauritius on Saturday.

From the onset of Rahme’s campaign the competition was between him and the Pole Vault bar. Once eventual runner up Mohammed Bouhadjer Algeria failed to vault beyond 4.35m, Cheyne stepped forward with an opening clearance at 4.55m. He went onto clear 4.80m, and 5.10m, before achieving a lifetime best of 5.30m on his second attempt. His previous best was 5.25m.

All fired up Rahme called for the bar to be set at 5.47m with the aim of setting a national record. This was not to be. His pole snapped and broke into three pieces when he planted it for the vault. He got another attempt with a substitute pole but failed to clear the height.

“Today I felt ready break the 5.46m national record,” Rahme said. “However the strong wind blowing sideways brought my plans to a halt. Anyway I have one more year as a junior and will try again to break new grounds next year.”

Perhaps the most unique victory of the championship will be the daughter-father partnership in the women’s Hammer Throw. A 57.53m throw on the fourth attempt ensured that 17-year-old Rana Taha fulfilled her dream of claiming the women’s Hammer Throw gold medal. What’s more it is a new championship record.

What makes her achievement unique is that Rana is coached by her father Ibrahim Taha, the Egyptian throwers coach. The senior Taha has been behind the resurgence of Egypt’s Hammer Throw, Shot Put and Discus Throw success at the Africa and Arab Championships. Rana trains with three-time Africa champion Marwa Hussein under the watchful eyes of the Taha Senior.

“After setting the Arab and Africa Junior record (61.01m) at the recent World Youth Championships in Italy, my disappointment was that I finished fourth and therefore did not win a medal.” said a beaming Taha Junior. “So today although I have not thrown over 62 metres as I wanted, I am happy to have won a gold medal with my papa watching.”

Elsewhere on the infield Seychelles secured their first medal of the championships when Lissa Labiche (1.69m) emerged victorious in the women’s High Jump. Ulrich Damon (73.51m) handed South Africa victory in the men’s javelin.  Senegalese long jumper Sangone Kandji claimed the women’s title with a (+2.4) wind assisted 5.83m second round leap.

The most exciting event of the day was the duel between neighbours and perennial long distance rivals Ethiopia and Kenya in the men’s 5000m. It all came down to the final 300m sprint to the finish line.

Ethiopian Abera Kuma Lema (13:42.53) carried the day.  Kenyans John Mwangangi (13:42.88) and Kennedy Kithuka (13:43.94) and Ayele Abshero Biza (13:44.21) of Ethiopia followed in that order.

Mark Ouma for the IAAF

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