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Gathimba, Ngii clinch Africa Games walk titles

Samuel Gathimba participating in a previous championship. PHOTO/Courtesy

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – Samuel Gathimba and Emily Ngii increased Kenya’s Gold medal count at the Africa Games in Morocco to four after clinching the men’s and women’s 20km walk titles on Wednesday morning.

Gathimba, a two-time African Champion improved on the silver medal he won in Brazzaville in 2015, winning his race in one hour, 22 minutes and 48 seconds.

The 31-year old, fresh from winning the African title in Asaba, Nigeria last year showed his prowess, wading off a tough finish in the final kilometer to beat EWthiopia’s Wale Yohanis by two seconds.

South Africa’s Wayne Snyman wound up the podium places finishing third in a time of one hour, 23 minutes and 38 seconds.

Kenya’s Simon Wachira’s attempt to squeeze in to third was not successful as he lacked the final bit of strength to outwit the South African, finishing fourth in a time of one hour, 24 minutes and 40 seconds.

Meanwhile, Ngii clinched the women’s title in one hour, 34 minutes and 41 seconds, leading a Kenyan one-two finish with six-time African champion and 2015 winner Grace Wanjiru coming in second.

Wanjiru who won the crown in Brazzaville four years ago was just four seconds shy of the winner. The 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist could not sustain the effort of the newbie finishing second, just like she did at last year’s African Championship in Asaba.

Kenya missed out on a medal chance late Tuesday during the final of the 10,000m. Edwin Soi was the country’s best finisher coming in fourth in 28:05.70. Ethiopia won gold and bronze in the race with Berehanu Wendemu clinching first spot while Jemale Mekonnen was third.

Eritrea’s teklu Aron came in second to clinch the silver medal.

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Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist Paul Tanui dropped out of the race after just 3,000m with Charles Mneria also following him suit.

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