Africa Watch - Kipyegon, Omanyala excel; Simbine has a good showing

athletics10 May 2023 09:02| © SuperSport
By:Karien Jonckheere
Faith Kipyegon © Gallo Images

The international outdoor athletics season kicked off in earnest over the weekend with the first Diamond League meeting in Doha while several stars were in action in inner-city Atlanta. We take a quick whip around the world to bring you the best of the African athletes’ performances…

Faith Kipyegon (KEN) - World-leading 1500m in Doha

Running her first race of the season, there may have been a couple of questions asked as to what shape Kenya’s world and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon was in. She answered those in emphatic fashion, easing to victory in a world-leading time of 3:58.57 in the 1500m in Doha. With a bit of wind swirling around, Kipyegon admitted afterwards she didn’t push too hard, just hard enough to get the win. That she did comfortably, getting the better of Ethiopians Diribe Welteji (second in 3:59.34) and Freweyni Hailu (third in 4:00.29).

Lamecha Girma (ETH) - Meeting record in the 3000m in Doha

Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma took to the track for the first time since his world indoor record-breaking effort over 3000m in France in February. And he once again rewrote the record books. This time his victory in 7:26.18 sliced more than a second off the meeting record in Doha and is also the fastest time in the world this year. It also helped him to see off compatriots Selemon Barega (second in a personal best time of 7:27.16) and Berihu Aregawi (third in a season’s best 7:27.61) who completed an Ethiopian podium clean sweep.

Hugues Fabrice Zango (BUR) - World-leading leap in the triple jump in Doha

In a hotly contested triple jump showdown, three men jumped over 17.70m in the same competition for the first time in history in Doha. While Burkina Faso’s Hughes Fabrice Zango just missed out on the win, his final-round effort 17.81m was a world-leading mark. All rather confusing, but the reason world and Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo’s winning distance of 17.91m wasn’t counted as the world-leading mark is that it was jumped with the wind reading of +2.1 – just over the legal limit.

WATCH - Doha Diamond League Highlights

Akani Simbine (RSA) - Second in Atlanta sprint

South Africa’s speediest man Akani Simbine couldn’t quite repeat his sub-10 second heroics from last month at the national championships in Potchefstroom but nevertheless put in a positive performance at the Atlanta City Games in the USA. He finished second behind young Oblique Seville in the 100m. The Jamaican was the only runner to go sub-10, winning in 9.99 with Simbine second in 10.01 and European 200m champion Zharnel Hughes third, but credited with the same time.

Ferdinand Omanyala (KEN) - “African record” in the 150m

Simbine’s great continental rival Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya chose to test his legs in the rarely contested 150m. The Atlanta City Games featured a specially engineered straight 150m track so there’s no bend for athletes to negotiate. Omanyala finished in third spot behind 200m world champion Noah Lyles (14.56) and fellow American Erriyon Knighton (14.85). But the Kenyan star’s time of 14.89 was quicker than the 150m African record of Frankie Fredericks set in 1993, in what is not a recognised World Athletics event.

WATCH - Atlanta City Games Highlights

No surprises as Africans rule the road in Czech capital - Prague Marathon

Kenya’s Alexander Mutiso Munyao dominated proceedings at the Prague Marathon, breaking away around the 35km mark and steaming ahead to win in a course record time of 2:05.09 – also a personal best. Finishing over a minute later was Ethiopia’s 2021 London Marathon winner Sisay Lemma, in 2:06.26, with Kenyan Philemon Rono third in 2:06.52. Ethiopian Workenesh Edesa achieved the biggest win of her career so far in taking victory in the women’s race by a massive margin in 2:20.42, with the Kenyan duo of Margaret Muriuki and Viola Kibiwot second and third in 2:23.52 and 2:24.54 respectively.

WATCH – Prague Marathon Highlights