Joseph Batangdon (Cameroon) and Llewellyn Herbert (South Africa), confirmed they are in fine pre-Olympic form on the fifth and final day (Sun 18 July) of competition at the 14th African Championships which were held in Massamba Debat Stadium, reports Mark Ouma.
In the final event of the day Zimbabwe upstaged the powerhouses of African sprinting by winning the men’s 4x400m relay, while overall a full strength South African team topped the championship medal table.
Batangdon - fully recovered from injury problems
Batangdon, the 2003 World Indoor 200m silver medallist gave Cameroon their only gold medal of the championships when he emerged the clear winner of the 200m. His winning time of 20.46 beat Nigerian Ambrose Ezenwa (20.75) who was runner up ahead of South Africa’s Morne Nagel (20.83).
“I am glad to be back in action this year, after last summer being in the cold due to injury. With this performance, I should be in good shape for Athens. Perhaps I will improve my national record (20.31) at the Olympics,” confirmed Batangdon.
Herbert continues in a fine groove
Olympic bronze medallist Llewellyn Herbert, confirmed that he is well on course in his preparations for Athens with a convincing 48.90 win in the 400m Hurdles. Kenyan Julius Bungei (49.56) edged another South African Ockert Cilliers (49.58) to take the silver medal.
Botswana on a high
Botswana clinched their only medal of the championships when Kabelo Mmono (2.17) won the men’s High Jump. Burkina Faso’s Boubacar Sere (2.10) was second and Khemraj Naiko (2.10) third.
South African Geraldine Pillay (23.18) won the women’s 200m. Earlier on she had scooped a bronze medal in the 100m and a silver in the 4 x 100m relay.
Rakotozafy puts Madagascar on top too
Rosa Rakotozafy (13.73) lived up to her country’s expectations by clinching the gold medal in the women’s 100m Hurdles. Cameroonian Carole Kaboud Me Bam (14.07) and Alima Soura (14.38) for Burkina Faso where second and third respectively.
“Being the only athlete from my country at these championships was a huge challenge. I want the people of Madagascar to know that I have fully recovered from my foot injury that made me withdraw from the World Championships and All Africa Games last year. My foot is now fine and I am gradually on the way to fully regaining my form,“ Rakototzafy revealed.
Fourth-placed Mozambican Telma Cossa (14.43) set her second national record at these championships. A beneficiary of the Maria Mutola Foundation, she had earlier set a Triple Jump record of 11.85.
Other athletes who set national records on the final day of the contest were Malians Ibrahim Maiga (50.27) in the men’s 400m Hurdles and women’s 200m silver medallists Kadiatou Camara (23.22).
Another gold for Senegal
In the women’s 4 x 400m Senegal ran home triumphant in 3:29.41 ahead of South Africa (3:30:12) and Cameroon (3:30.77). For the silver medallists and sixth place Congo-Brazzaville (3:55.29) their times were national records.
Ferri Mepamdy (15.88) also improved the Congo-Brazzaville record in the men’s Triple Jump.
Kenya and Ethiopia also split the middle distance honours with Zwedo Maregu of Ethiopia taking the men's 5000m (13:47.77), and Kenyan Nancy Lagat took the women's 1500m (4:24.56).
The men’s 4 x 400m relay lived up to its reputation and was as action packed and exciting a finale as at previous championships.
The lead rapidly changed between South Africa and Nigeria, before Zimbabwe took front on the third leg. The 400m bronze medallist Talkmore Nyongani anchored Zimbabwe’s victoryhome in a time of 3:02.38. Nigeria (3:02.66), South Africa (3:03.81) and Kenya (3:04.00) followed in that order.
The jubilant team of Loid Zwasiya, Lewis Banda, Temba Ncube, Nyongani give Zimbabwe their first gold medal in a track event at an African Championships.
Ncube spoke on behalf of the team. “Our goal was to come here and qualify for the Olympics. The gold medal was a bonus. If we make it to Athens we will reinforce our team with Brian Dzingai who was not able to make it to Brazzaville.”
South Africa dominate Championships
South Africa’s decision to field a full strength team paid off as they topped the medal table throughout the five-day competition.
“Our aim was not just to sharpen up the team for the Olympics. We strongly believe that we are first and foremost part of Africa (for athletics) and therefore must give our best to the continent,” said Wilfred Daniels, one of the South African coaches in Brazzaville.
South Africa finish as the overall champions having amassed 10 gold, 12 silver and 8 bronze medals. Kenya stand second on the list with seven gold, seven silver and five bronze medals, while Nigeria take third place on the medal table with four gold and three silver medals.
Selected results from Final Day
1 Joseph Batandon (Cameroon) 20.46
2 Ambrose Ezenwa (Nigeria) 20.75
3 Morne Nagel (South Africa) 20.83
1 Llewellyn Herbert (South Africa) 48.90
2 Julius Bungei (Kenya) 49.56
3 Ockert Cilliers (South Africa) 49.58
4 Ibrahim Maiga (Mali) 50.27 NR
1 Zwedo Maregu (Ethiopia) 13:47.77
2 Boniface Songok (Kenya) 13:48.06
3 Hillary Chenonge (Kenya) 13:48.44
1 Kabelo Mmono (Botswana) 2.17
2 Boubacar Sere (Burkina Faso) 2.10
3 Khemraj Naiko (Mauritius) 2.10
1 Olivier Sanou (Burkina Faso) 16.31
2 Hamza Menina (Algeria) 16.02
3 Thierry Adanabou (Burkina Faso) 15.93
1 Hardus Piennar (South Africa) 78.31
2 Geerbrand Grobler (South Africa) 76.93
3 Willem Human (South Africa) 71.48
4 x 400m
1 Zimbabwe 3:02.38
2 Nigeria 3:02.66
3 South Africa 3:03.81
4 Kenya 3:04.00
1 Geraldine Pillay (South Africa) 23.18
2 Kadiatou Camara (Mali) 23.22
3 Nadjina Kaltouma (Chad) 23.29
1 Rosa Rakotopzafy (Madagascar) 13.73
2 Carole Kaboud Me Bam (Cameroon) 14.07
3 Alima Soura (Burkina Faso) 14.38
4 Telma Cossa (Mozambique) 14.43 NR
1 Nancy Lagat (Kenya) 4:24.56
2 Saida El Mehdi (Morocco) 4:24.87
3 Jeruto Kiptum (Kenya) 4:25.85
1 Grace Wanjiku (Kenya) 1:42:45
2 Nicolene Cronje (South Africa) 1:43:57
3 Bahia Boussad (Algeria) 1:46:12
1 Elizna Naude (South Africa) 57.50
2 Alifatou Djibril (Togo) 52.62
3 Moselhy Zoghary Hera (Egypt) 50.58
4 x 400m
1 Senegal 3:29.41
2 South Africa 3:30:12
3 Cameroon 3:30.77
4 Nigeria 3:30.84
South Africa 10 12 8
Kenya 7 7 5
Nigeria 4 3 0
Tunisia 3 4 1
Senegal 3 3 2
Ethiopia 3 1 1
Morocco 2 2 5
Sudan 2 1 1
Mauritius 2 1 2
Egypt 2 0 3
Burkina Faso 1 2 3
Cameroon 1 1 3
Zimbabwe 1 0 1
Ghana 1 0 0
Botswana 1 0 0
Madagascar 1 0 0
Algeria 0 1 3
Mali 0 1 1
Togo 0 1 1
Chad 0 1 1
Mali 0 1 0
Burundi 0 0 1
Congo-Brazzaville 0 0 1
Gambia 0 0 1
Seychelles 0 0 1