Yassine Bensghir clinches victory in the 1500m - Niger (AFP/Getty Images) © Copyright
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Francophone Games – Final Day

France and Morocco ended up as the greatest overall winners of the athletics competitions at the 5th Francophone Games which concluded yesterday (16) in Niamey, Niger. On the final day both countries reasserted their domination, sharing 12 out of the 14 titles delivered at Seyni Kountché stadium on Friday (7 for France, 5 for Morocco).

After the earlier medal sweep triumphs in the women’s 1500m and 10,000m, Moroccan runners also took all the podium spots in the men’s marathon and 1500m, and the women’s 5000m. The trio of Rachid Kisri, Zaid Laaroussi and Abderrahim Bouramdane overcame extreme temperatures to come home under 2:20. Rachid Kisri’s winning time of 2:17:03 was even a new record of the Games. Yassine Bensghir clinched his second victory of the week, taking the 1500m after his earlier 800m title, while Zhor El Kamch took the women’s 5000m after the 10,000m and Seltana Ait Hammou didn’t have any difficulty to win the 800m, her specialty after her successful incursion in the 1500m. The Moroccan team was also awarded the gold in the 4x400m after a closely contested struggle against Mauritius (3:06.87 to 3:07.46).

Most of France’s victories came in the field events: the men’s High Jump with a 2.24m clearance by Mustapha Raifak, the men’s Javelin Throw  (71.64m for David Brisseault), the women’s Shot Put which was dominated by Jessica Cérival (16.32m) and the women’s Long Jump (6.42m for Elise Vesanes). This tally was completed with titles in the women’s 100m Hurdles (Joanna Bujak in 13:47), 4x400m (3:37.91) and marathon. The marathon actually didn’t led to the crowning of not one but two athletes. Céline Cormerais and Eléna Fétizon, who didn’t want to resort to a final sprint after running the whole race side-by-side, crossed the line hand-in-hand to be credited with the same time of 2:45.28.

However, it was Chad’s Kaltouma Nadjina who turned in the overall best individual performance of the day with her commanding victory in the women’s 200m in 22.91. The Calgary-based 400m specialist cut 28 hundredth of second off her previous season’s best to move up to 37th best performer on the 2005 lists. Pre-race favourite Fabienne Feraez of Benin couldn’t do better than 4th in 23.78 and confessed to a lack of preparation.

The men’s 200m went to Ivory Coast’s Ben Youssef Meite (20.99), who perpetuates a lineage of well-known sprinters following his father Amadou and brothers Ibrahim and Souleymane. 

France ended the competition with 39 medals (18 of them in gold), Morocco with 31 medals (11 gold) ahead of Canada, a distant third with 9 medals (3 in gold).

Carole Fuchs for the IAAF



1. Ben Youssef Meité CIV 20.99
2. Marius Loua CIV 21.01
3. Oumar Loum SEN 21.12

1. Yassine Bensghir MAR 3:46.58
2. Youssef Baba MAR 3:46.84
3. Zakariae Mazouzi MAR 3:47.84

1. Rachid Kisri MAR 2:17:03
2. Zaid Laaroussi MAR 2:17:18
3. Abderrahim Bouramdane MAR 2:18:46

High jump
1. Mustapha Raifak FRA 2.24m
2. Kwaku Boateng CAN 2.20m
3. Eduard Sebestyen ROM 2.20m

1. David Brisseault FRA 71.64m
2. Vitoli Tipotio FRA 67.79m
3. Fabio Ramsamy MRI 65.54m

1. Morocco (Fhrani, Khoudri, Belkaifa, Daif) 3:06.87
2. Mauritius (Degrace, Kowlessur, Vieillesse, Augustin) 3:07.46
3. Senegal (Mbow, Sambou, Faye, Dramé) 3:11.37


200m (+0.7)
1. Kaltouma Nadjina CHA 22.92
2. Aurélie Kamga FRA 23.72
3. Phara Anacharsis FRA 23.75

1. Seltana Ait Hamou MAR 2:04.63
2. Mihaela Silvia Neascu ROM 2:05.30
3. Saida El Mehdi MAR 2:06.49

1. Zhor El Kamch MAR 16:19.71
2. Bouchra Chaabi MAR 16:21.54
3. Christine Bardelle FRA 16:38.02

100H (+1.1)
1. Joanna Bujak FRA 13.47
2. Carole Kaboud Me Bam CMR 13.58
3. Elisabeth Davin BEL  13.65

Long Jump
1. Elise Vesanes FRA 6.42m/ +1.2
2. Céline Laporte SEY 6.24m/+1.6
3. Alina Ramona Militaru ROM 6.22m/+0.5

Shot Put
1. Jessica Cérival FRA 16.32m
2. Helena Hila ROM 15.93m
3. Amel Ben Khamel TUN 14.81m

1. Céline Cormerais FRA 2:45:28
1. Eléna Fétizon FRA 2:45:28
3. Epiphanie Nyirabaramé RWA 2:50:13

1. France (Anacharsis, Kamga, Kassambara, Morandais) 3:37.91
2. Canada (Seibel, Monroe, Thibodeau, Akinsule) 3:40.96
3. Morocco (El Mehdi, Hachlaf, Ait Hammou, Skhyi) 3:42.48

National records broken during the championships

400H M: Chérif Issa  51.14
800m W: Noellie Yarigo 2:11.61 (to be confirmed)
400H W: Clemence Kombeto 60.56

Burkina Faso
400H M: Barnabé Bationo 51.01
4x100m M: 40.51
4x100m W: 45.99

Central African Republic
100m M: Béranger Bossé 10.45

110H W: Kerfala Camara 15.55

Triple W: Yah Koita 12.94

1500m M: Hamidou Garba 3:55.64 (to be confirmed)
400H M: Nasser Dan Matta 52.33
LJ M:  Abdoulaye Garba 7.27
4x100m M: 41.13
4x400m M: 3:15.28
200m W:  Halima Issoufou's 26.35 (to be confirmed)

Hammer W:  Florence Ezeh 56.12.