, NAIROBI, Kenya, August 1- Kenya on Sunday reclaimed its continental dominance at the conclusion of the 17th Africa Athletics Championships after clinching 10 gold medals and a total haul of 25 podium finishes.
The Championship ended on Sunday the same way it began, with the Kenya National Anthem ringing round Nyayo National Stadium.
Kenya’s 4×400 men’s relay team brought the house down in the last event of the championships with a masterful performance in the final which they won in a time of 3:02.96.
The Nyayo stadium was also rocked to its foundations as Edwin Soy spearheaded a Kenya podium sweep in the men’s 5000m, completely turning the tables on arch rivals Ethiopia who achieved the same feat two years ago in Addis.
Soy clocked 13:30.46 as he dramatically beat Vincent Yator at the finish line to enhance Kenya’s gold rush. Mark Kiptoo settled for bronze capping off a dominant display.
“I’m very happy with the way I ran. My teammates and I planned for it like we were going to battle,” said Soy.
“I’m very happy to have won this race. I’ve trained very hard for the last four years and this was my time,” he added.
Asbel Kiprop put the disappointment of last year’s IAAF World Athletics Championships behind him with a brilliant display to win the 1500m.
“It was a good race. The home support helped us a lot. As a team we discussed that I push for the first two laps. In the last lap the pace was a lot especially from the Moroccan and the Ethiopian. Laalou (Amine) is an 800m runner and Gebremedhin (Wolde) I know what he can do because I’ve raced him before."
Former World champion Janeth Jepkosgei will have to wait longer for her maiden African title after finishing second in the women’s 800m race that was won by Zahra Bouras of Algeria.
Just when it looked like Jepkosgei was going to take the race, Bouras came from virtually nowhere to outsprint the ‘Eldoret Express’ to clinch silver in 2.00.22.
“I didn’t see the other lady coming to be honest. I was just focusing on my race,” said Jepkosgei.
Milcah Chemos produced a dramatic burst of speed to win her maiden continental title in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.
Chemos played a waiting game in the initial stages of the race with Mercy Njoroge and bronze medallist Lydia Rotich playing the role of pacemakers before a duel with runner up Sofia Abebe of Ethiopia.
“It was hard because the weather was not conducive and the pace was too hard for me,” said Chemos who won in 9:32.18.
Kenya’s Grace wanjiru clinched the 20km women’s title this morning at the Africa Athletics Championships.
Wanjiru won the race in 1:34.19 ahead of Trabelsi Chaima who took silver in 1:35.33 and Shefrawe Aynalem who took bronze.
There was also success for the hosts in the men’s walk with David Rotich taking silver in 1:21.07.