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Aprot takes African 10,000m title

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Alice Aprop en route to the African 10,000m title in Durban.PHOTO/IAAF

Alice Aprop en route to the African 10,000m title in Durban.PHOTO/IAAF

DURBAN, South Africa, June 26 – Kenyan Alice Aprot made a statement ahead of next week’s Kenyan Olympic trials, shattering her personal best to win the women’s 10,000m title at the African Championships in Durban on Saturday.

Aprot, 22, took control in the early stages, charging to victory in 30:26.94 to lead a Kenyan clean sweep of the medals.

Her time was the fastest in the world this year and the quickest ever run on African soil, as she bettered her previous career record of 31:24.18 which she set when winning the African Games crown in Brazzaville last year.

She finished well clear of Jackline Chepngeno, who finished second in 31:27.73, with Joyline Jepkosgei third in 31:28.28.

“I’m happy with that time… and running this time is important to me as it’s an Olympic year,” Aprot said.

“Winning the title gives me confidence for the Olympic trials because I know such a time is needed.”

Title No. 5 for Viljoen

In the women’s javelin throw final, local star Sunette Viljoen, the African record holder, bagged her fifth continental title with a 64.08m heave.

She won convincingly, with fellow South African Jo-Ane van Dyk taking the silver with 56.22m.

“I’m very proud of that, to have been continuously throwing for such a long time, and to be on top of the continent in an event which is held every second year, I’m very happy,” Viljoen said.

Tosin Oke of Nigeria won the men’s triple jump contest with a 17.13m leap, earning his third African crown in his specialist event, with a comfortable margin separating him from silver medallist Fabrice Zongo of Burkina Faso, whose best attempt of 16.81m bumped 2008 Olympic long jump silver medallist Khotso Mokoena into third. The South African athlete recorded a season’s best of 16.77m.

In other disciplines, African Games champion Antonio Alkana won the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.43, with Nigerian Tyron Atkins crossing the line second in 13.73. Hichem Cherabi of Algeria secured victory in the men’s pole vault, clearing 5.30m.

Uhunoma Osazuwa of Nigeria won the heptathlon crown with a personal best 6153 points, while defending champion Marthe Koala of Burkina Faso racked up 5952 for the silver medal.

Eslam Ibrahim of Egypt pocketed gold in the men’s hammer throw final with a best effort of 68.92m, edging out 43-year-old South African athlete Chris Harmse who finished second with 67.67m to secure his ninth medal at the biennial continental championships, 18 years after stepping onto the podium for the first time.

In preliminary rounds, 400m world champion Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa was the fastest qualifier in the men’s 200m semifinals, clocking 20.03 to progress as the favourite for Sunday’s final, and Gina Bass of Gambia was quickest of the women’s 200m semi-finalists, crossing the line in 23.14.

After winning the women’s 1500m final the day before, Caster Semenya returned to the track for the heats of her specialist 800m event and coasted into the final, clocking 2:02.01.

The biennial African Senior Championships will come to a close on Sunday.

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