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All-Afica Games underway in Maputo

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MAPUTO, Mozambique, September 4 – The 10th All-Afica Games will see world-class swimmers competing in Mozambique but prominent athletes like ‘Blade runner’ Oscar Pistorius probably missing the four-yearly multi-sport championships.

Although delegates have praised the southern African country for its sports facilities and accommodation, events like the world athletics championships in South Korea and a Diamond League meet in Zurich later this month drew away many top men and women.

Mozambique are expecting 5,000 men and women from 48 countries to compete in 24 sports from Sunday.

South African swimming sensation Chad le Clos, 19, will hope to emulate his performance in the 200m butterfly in India last year, where he set a Commonwealth Games record of 1:56.48.

“He will win a few races, that’s for sure,” his father Bert told AFP. “He has been training very hard this season.”

The young swimmer is due in Maputo Saturday with the rest of the South African swimmers after they visiting facilities for the 2012 London Olympics.

The swimming complex at the Zimpeto National Stadium will also host South African Cameron van der Burgh, world record holder for 50m and 100m breaststroke.

Van der Burgh collected two bronze medals at the world championships in Shanghai two months ago.

Kenyan Jason Dunford, who took gold in the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly in Delhi, could face another South African, Roland Schoeman, who holds world 50m freestyle and butterfly records.

On the track, Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan will come to Mozambique after winning gold in the men’s 10,000m at the world championships.

Compatriot Gisaw Melkam will compete in the women’s half marathon.

The attendance of other Ethiopians like Kenenisa Bekele in the men’s 5,000m, Gelete Burka in the women’s 1,500m and Dire Tune in the women’s marathon depends on whether they are invited to a Golden League meet.

Kenya have sent a ‘B’ team to give younger athletes exposure, head of mission Charles Nyaberi said.

“The best athletes went to Daegu,” said Nyaberi. “We are hoping that two or three can double up.”

South Africans LJ van Zyl, who bagged bronze in the 400m hurdles in Korea, and women’s world 800m champion Caster Semenya are other likely absentees.

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