Dawit SeyaumMauritius commendably took over the organisation of the 11th African Junior Championships from South Africa two months prior to the competition. In return, the athletes staged the show and came up with two championship records at the Germain Comarmond Stadium in Bambous.

The landmarks of the championships have been the stunning performances of the Nigerian sprinters and the Ethiopian distance runners. But perhaps the most surprising gold medal is the one won by Kenya’s Alex Kiprotich in the men’s Javelin.

During the four days of competition, Nigerian sprinters proved that they are undoubtedly back in business after their dominance on the African stage had slipped in recent years.

In Bambous, Nigeria won all four relays and took gold and silver in the men’s 100m (Harry Chukwudike, 10.54, and Mamus Emuobonuviem, 10.58). There was also victory for Divine Oduduru in the 200m (21.19), victories in the women’s 200m (Nkiruka Uwakwe, 24.21) and 400m (Ada Benjamin, 52.87) as well as a gold medal in the women’s Long Jump.

Ethiopia’s sprinting surprise

Nigeria was not the only nation who impressed in the sprints at the championships. Ethiopia’s Yuma Tegest Tamangnu won silver medals in the women’s 100m and 200m, while her team-mates won bronze medals in the 400m and 400m Hurdles before they strongly challenged Nigeria in the 4x400m to finally claim the silver medal.

Ethiopian women also maintained their domination of the middle and long-distance races by clinching gold medals in the 800m, 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 3000m Steeplechase. The 1500m was one of the best events of the championships as Dawit Seyaum avenged her World Youth Championships defeat to team-mate Tigist Gashaw.

After finishing more than a second behind Gashaw in Donetsk, Seyaum was the dominant athlete on this occasion as she smashed her PB to win gold in 4:09.00, finishing more than three seconds ahead of Gashaw (4:12.38).

Weynshet Ansa was another World youth medallist in action in Bambous. Winner of the Steeplechase bronze medal in Donetsk, this time Ansa stood on the top of the podium after taking gold in the 3000m Steeplechase, dipping under 10 minutes for the first time in her life with 9:59.46.

However, their male counterparts were not so competitive, as Kahsay Adhana was the only Ethiopian winner in a men’s event, taking gold in the 800m. In a tactical race, he sat back all the way before unleashing a devastating acceleration in the final straight to take the victory. Read more

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