Ethiopia’s Mekonnen Wins First Gold in Asaba



  • Men and women’s 100m finals to hold this afternoon

Duro Ikhazuagbe

Ethiopia’s Jemal Vimer Mekonnen wednesday won the first gold medal on Day One of the 21st Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Senior Championships at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State, clocking 29:08.01 to stay ahead of the pack.

Mekonnen’s compatriot, Andamlak Belihu Berta (29:11.09) won the silver while Timothy Toroitich of Uganda (29:11.87) settled for the bronze medal.

Unfortunately, fellow East Africans from Kenya who were expected to be in serious contention for podium placement were let down by poor logistic arrangements by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) in the Lagos end.

The Kenyans who arrived Lagos on Monday evening from Nairobi did not get to Asaba until yesterday morning, just few hours to the 10,000m event.

Although morning events were pushed to evening as a result of the last batch of athletes arriving Asaba yesterday, men and women’s 100m heats held in the evening with African Championships, with Marie Josee Ta Lou and Akani Simbine setting the overall fastest times in both categories respectively.

South Africa’s Simbine who is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion won Heat 4 in 10.30s ahead of Riffayn Ambdoul Karim (10.48s), Mark Odhiambo (10.61s) and Nigeria’s Enoch Adegoke (10.64s).

Ngoni Makusha of Zimbabwe crossed the finishing line in 10.37s to win Heat 5 in 10.37s, as Karabo Mothibi (10.46s) and Emmanuel Yeboah (10.50s) came 2nd and 3rd.

Defending champion Ben Youssef Meite of Cote d’Ivoire easily won Heat 1 in 10.41s with 2012 champion, Simon Magakwe (10.42), and Nigeria’s Ogho-Oghene Egwero (10.52) placing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Nigeria’s three-time sprint champion, Seye Ogunlewe, also showed class in Heat 6 winning in 10.42 ahead of Gilbert Maseko of Namibia 10.44.

In the absence of Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor who pulled out of the 100m and 200m women’s sprint events due to a nagging injury, national Under-20 champion, Joy Udo-Gabriel (11.64) won Heat 3 while Mercy Ntia-Obong (11.66) placed second behind Hamida Basaant of Egypt who won in a time of 11.60 in another heat.

Ta Lou clocked the fastest time of all the heats in the women’s category as she won Heat 1 in 11.25s.

The semi-finals and finals of both the men and women’s 100m will come up today (Day Two) of the competition.