Bambous, Mauritius Louis van Zyl ended South Africa's gold medal drought on the second day of the Africa Championships when he won the 400m Hurdles at the Germain Commarmond Stadium on Thursday (10).
Van Zyl surged with 250m to go to the finish to clock 49.43 seconds. Compatriot Alwyn Myburgh was runner up in 49.88. However, it was the little-known Mozambican Leonel Kurt Couto who upset the form book by beating another South African Pieter de Villiers to the bronze medal. Van Zyl was over the moon about the prospect of representing the continent at the forthcoming IAAF World Cup in Athens, Greece (16 / 17 September), a selection which was secured by his victory.
"It is a great honour to have the opportunity to represent Africa at the World Cup in Athens next month. I will use the remaining World Athletics Tour meets to polish up my speed. I want to give back to Africa a great performance, possibly breaking the 48 seconds barriers in Athens," Van Zyl revealed.
False starts unsettle Fasuba
Elsewhere Nigeria's Olusoji Fasuba, the African record holder retained his championship 100m title winning the race in 10.37. Teammate Uchenna Emedolu (10.44) was runner-up ahead of Ghana Eric Nkansah (10.65).
"The two false starts affected our performance,” said Fasuba. “In the second start we ran for almost 40m before being called back. That takes a lot out of an athlete. Now my focus is on Athens where I hope to run a fast time possibly a sub 10 seconds," says Fasuba.
Defar defeats Dibaba
After a series of solid defeats in the IAAF Golden League Olympic 5000m champion and World record holder Meseret Defar (15:56.00) prevailed over fellow Ethiopian, the World 5000m and 10,000m title holder, Tirunesh Dibaba (15:56.04) in the final sprint for the finish in the women's 5000m.
This was a slow tactical affair with Ethiopia's Meselech Melkamu, Dibaba and the two Kenyans Isabella Ochichi, the Olympic silver medallist, and Chibiwott Kibet taking turns leading but never really breaking away from the tight pack that also included Morocco's 22-year-old Mariem Alaoui Selsouli
The defining moment came in the last 300m when Defar and Dibaba managed to outpace the rest. "Our aim was just to ensure Ethiopia wins the race. There were no pace makers and with the headwind on the back straight it was going to be difficult to clock fast times. I am the Olympic champion in this event and I want to make sure that Africa wins in Athens," said Defar.
Egypt tops the medal table
Meanwhile, Omar El-Ghazaly, 22, (61.11m) ensured Egypt retained the lead on the overall medal table with a total of three golds when he led teammate Ibrahim Yassar Fathy (54.38) in a 1-2 Egyptian finish in the men's Discus Throw. Morocco's Nabil Kiram (53.41) picked the bronze medal.
"I am not happy with the distance I threw today. My technique was not that good. I hope to improve by at least four metres at the World Cup in Athens," says El Ghazaly.
Other winners yesterday were in the women's events, Nigerian Toyin Augustus (100m Hurdles), Tunisia's Syrine Balti (Pole Vault), Vida Anim (100m), and Cameroon's Josephine Bikie Mbarga (Long Jump).
Tunisian Mourad Souissi won the men's Decathlon.
Mark Ouma for the IAAF
SELECTED LEADING RESULTS
NR denotes National Record
PB denotes Personal Best
1 Olusoji Fasuba (Nigeria) 10.37
2 Uchenna Emedolu (Nigeria) 10.44
3 Eric Nkansah (Ghana) 10.65
1 Louis van Zyl (South Africa) 49.43
2 Alwyn Myburgh (South Africa) 49.88
3 Leonel Kurt Couto (Mozambique) 50.72
1 Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) 14:03.41
2 Mike Kigen (Kenya) 14:05.12
3 Moses Kipsiro (Uganda) 14:05.20
1 Ignisious Gaisah (Ghana) 8.51 (+3.7)
2 Khotso Mokoena (South Africa) 8.45 (+4.2)
3 Issam Nima (Algeria) 8.22 (+2.4)
4 Gable Garenamotse (Botswana) 8.02 (3.1)
1 Omar El-Ghazaly (Egypt) 61.11
2 Ibrahim Yassar (Egypt) 54.38
3 Nabil Kiram (Morocco) 53.41
1 Ibrahim Yassar (Egypt) 18.93
2 Janus Robberts (South Africa) 17.88
3 Mohammed Medded (Tunisia) 17.87
1 Hamdi Dhouidi (Tunisia) 7566 points
2 Mourad souissi (Algeria) 7113 points
3 Terence Wepener (South Africa) 7084 points
1 Vida Anim (Ghana) 11.58
2 Geraldine Pillay (South Africa) 11.67
3 Endurance Ojokolo (Nigeria) 11.95
100m Hurdles (-1.4)
1 Toyin Augustus (Nigeria) 13.44
2 Carole Me-ban kaboud (Cameroon) 13.85
3 Gnima Faye (Senegal) 13.95
1 Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) 15:56.00
2 Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) 15:56.04
3 Jebiwot Kibet (Kenya) 15:57.14
1 Josephine Bike Mbarga (Cameroon) 6.33 (+2.9)
2 Kene Ndoye (Senegal) 6.30 (+1.8)
3 Chinazom Amadi (Nigeria) 6.23 (+3.0)
1 Syrine Balti (Tunisia) 4.21
2 Dinar Nisrine (Morocco) 3.60
3 Lindi Roux (South Africa) 3.60
1 Marwa Hussein Arafat (Egypt) 62.16
2 Hayat Elghazi (Morocco) 59.33
3 Blessing Egwu (Nigeria) 51.77