RABAT, Morocco, Aug, 31 – Kenya recorded an improved performance from the 2015 results as they hauled 11 gold at the 2019 Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco, the best since 2011 as the continental multi-sport concluded on Saturday.
This saw Kenya finish seventh in the table with a total of 31 medals, 11 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze.
Egypt finished as the top ranked nation with 101 gold and a total of 270 medals finishing ahead of Nigeria who had 46 gold while South Africa were third with 36 medal.
Nigeria finished top of the medal as the best team in athletics with 10 gold, 7 silver and 6 bronze ahead of second placed Kenya who had 10 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze.
The gold medallist were Benjamin Kigen (men’s 3000m steeplechase), George Manangoi (men’s 1500m), Samuel Gathimba (men’s walk), Robert Kiprop (men’s 5000m), Titus Ekiru (men’s half marathon), Julius Yego (men’s javelin), Quailyne Jebiwott (women’s 1500m), Emily Ngii (women’s 20km walk), Vanice Kerubo (women’s 400m Hurdles), Lilian Kasait (women’s 5000m) and the Malkia Strikers (women’s volleyball).
-Kerubo history maker-
However, it is Kerubo and the Malkia Strikers who stole the show on the penultimate day of the games, a golden day that saw Kenya haul a seven gold only to add on the four that it had won earlier.
Kerubo wrote history as not only being the first Kenyan woman to win gold in the 400m Hurdles but also the first Kenyan to hold such title in the continent.
The only other Kenyan to have won a medal at the continental level is six-time former champion Maureen Jelagat when she claimed bronze at the 2010 Africa Championships in Nairobi.
Kerubo won the National title in a personal best of 57.85 on August 22 this year at the Nyayo National Stadium.
For Malkia Strikers, it was a night to remember as they produced a character of a champion to stop favourites and Africa champions Cameroon to retain the title.
It looked like Cameroon had snatched it away from the African Queens especially after dominating the first set 25-12 and taking a five point advantage in the second set that saw Malkia Strikers come down to win the third set 26-24.
It was the same scenario in the fourth set that Malkia was looking to win to defend the title as Cameroon once again took a six point lead and it looked like the match was headed to the decider set, but the Paul Bitok charges once again pulled a spirited fight to catch up on them and win the final set 25-22.
It was recorded as a big win especially after Cameroon found a formula to beat the Kenyan team that has dominated the continental volleyball for a long time. Their federation got it right by building the game, they have six professionals who play in France, so I urge our clubs to release players whenever they get a club abroad, this will give them exposer hence advantage to the country,” interim head coach Paul Bitok told Capital Sport.
Another super performance in this edition’s games, is from boxing. The Kenyan Hit Squad registered the best results since 2007 in Algiers when Suleiman Bilali won gold. In Rabat, they managed to get five medals, one silver and four bronze.
Hassan Shaffi Bakari of National Police Service, won silver in the flyweight (56kg) category, while bronze came from Boniface Mogunde (welterweight 69kg), Fredrick Otieno (superheavyweight 91kg) George Ouma (middleweight 75kg) and Elly Ajowi (heavyweight 91kg).
The only upset is losing the women’s 3000m steeplechase that has been out traditional win as Kenya settles for silver courtesy of Mercy Wanjiru as Ethiopian Mrkides Abebe won the race while compatriot Weynshet Weldetsadik took bronze.