The 10th African Junior Championships commenced on Thursday (12) in Gaborone, Botswana. This competition, held every two years, is being held in the UB Stadium over the course of five days. This meeting has traditionally displayed many of the African stars to come and this version will do the same.
While most of the athletes competing in Gaborone this weekend are too old to compete at this year's IAAF World Youth Championships, Lille, France, 6-10 July, some talented youth athletes are expected to emerge.
During the first day of the competition to no surprise the best results were achieved in distance running. The best results in the junior men’s competition came in the 3000m Steeplechase. And it was a very usual sight of a Kenyan 1-2 in this event won by 17-year-old Gilbert Kirui, who lowered his personal best to 8:25.03, the second fastest winning time in the history of this event. Countryman Jairus Kipchoge was second clocking 8:28.08 PB and 19-year-old Jacob Araptany of Uganda took the bronze in 8:30.63 season’s best. Araptany won the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships in Moncton last year.
The main junior women’s event was 3000 metres where 19-year-old Ethiopian Azemra Gebru clocked 9:11.84 for the win. Gebru added another medal following a bronze at the junior race of the World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbría earlier this season. 2007 World Youth Champion over this distance, Kenyan Purity Rionoripo, 17, was second in 9:14.58 and another Ethopian Waganesh Mekasha third in 9:16.82.
Other event winners included Morocco’s El Mehdi Kabbachi with 7.69m in the men’s Long Jump, and Dorra Mahfoudhi of Tunisia with a 3.40m clearance in the women’s Pole Vault.
Correction: The women’s Discus Throw was not won by Charlene Engelbrecht of Namibia, she was second with 46.10m. The winner was Ischke Senekal of South Africa, who threw 49.90m personal best for the gold.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF
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