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Play true; be proud
Kenyan athletes are great middle and long distance runners. This fact should be enough to make Kenya and its athletes exceedingly proud and support the campaign to clean up the sport from drug cheats. Like they have always been at the top of the world in competitions, Kenyan athletes should expectedly be at the fore front in ensuring the sport is clean since there is so much focus on them from the rest of the world. They should be the ones to stand up and say no to drugs in sports.
On this site, we call upon athletes, managements, agents and coaches of integrity to make their vehement statements that shun cheating in sports and to urge athletes to be proud of their natural God-given talents. We will put their statements on this site and also print out leaflets to distribute to athletes in local competitions as well as in their training camps.
Kenyan athletes hauled the largest collection of medals on the final day of the African athletics championships in Marrakech. The number of the medals on this final day was even higher than that of all the other medals the athletes had collected on the first four days of the championships, only that the South Africans and Nigerians had already collected much more gold medals on the first days and Kenyans could not manage to overtake them at the medal standings.
In the end, South Africa led at the medal table of the championships with 10 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze medals; Nigeria was second having won 8 gold, 9 silver and 7 bronze medals; Kenya ended up third with 7 gold, 8 silver and 10 bronze medals. The listing of these countries could easily be read upside down if the total number of medals were to be considered. Kenya collected a total of 25 medals, Nigeria 24 and South Africa 19.
The first gold medal for Kenya on this final day came from Grace Wanjiru who defended her title in the women 20km walk as her compatriot, Emily Ngii followed her to win a silver medal for Kenya as Askale Benti of Ethiopia took the bronze medal. Samuel Gathimba also won silver in the men's event.
The greatest moment for the country came when Eunice Sum led Janeth Jepkosgei and Agatha Jeruto to a 1-2-3 podium sweep in the women 800m. Their times were 1:59.45, 1:59.74 and 1:59.84 respectively. Ethiopia's Assefa Tigst led the other competitors who did not win medals in this event finishing 4thin 2:00.43.
It was the same scenario as it was at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the men's 5000m race. Caleb Ndiku won the gold medal in 13:34.27, Isaiah Koech followed to take the silver medal and because there were no New Zealand athlete to win the bronze here, Osman Abrar of Eritrea acted that part as he finished in 13:36.42. Joseph Kitur then followed in fourth position, just like he had also done in Glasgow. The whole of this year, Caleb Ndiku has become a real force to be reckoned with in the 5000m and 3000m events.
In the men's 1500m event, Kenyans were disappointed by Djibouti's Ayanleh Souleiman who won the event in 3:42.49. Asbel Kiprop won the silver medal in 3:42.58 followed by Ronald Kipkemboi to take the bronze medal. Many Kenyans were expecting another possible clean sweep by Kenyans in this event. The other Kenyan here, James Magut finished in 5thposition.
Julius Yego, who is one of the most celebrated athletes in Kenya right now, did not disappoint in the men's javelin throw after throwing 84.72m to win the competition. Abdelrahaman Elsayed of Egypt won the bronze with an 83.59m throw while Oosthuizen Robert of South Africa threw 77.81m to settle for the bronze medal.
There was a real disappointment for Kenyans in the women 3000m steeplechase event when the best placed Kenyan was only able to finish 6th. Ayanleh Hiwot of Ethiopia won this event setting a new championship record of 9:29.54. She was followed by her compatriot, Assefa Sofia in 9:30.20 before Morocco's Elouali Salima finished in 9:33.02 completing the podium places.
Kenya also won a silver medal in the women 4x400m event and bronze medals in men's 4x400m, women's 400m hurdles through Koki Francisca and in the men's 200m finals through Nkanata Carmin.
The country had won 9 gold, 9 silver and 9 bronze medals at the Benin championships to finish 2nd behind Nigeria during the 2012 championships. South Africa had then finished in third place. With the three nations showing their class and rotating their positions at the top of the continent in athletics, one would wonder whether it won't be Kenya's time to top the continent at the next African championships in Durban 2016. Time will tell.
Joyce Chepkirui, the newly crowned Commonwealth 10,000m women champion staged another great run in Marrakech to also become the new African champion in the event after winning the race in 32:45.27. Her compatriot, Emily chebet, who had won a bronze medal in Glasgow, followed in 32:45.28 to also secure a silver medal for Kenya as Ethiopia's Belaynesh Oljira in 32:49.39 settled for the bronze.
While it was definitely another great evening for Kenyans, the fact that Kenya had won all the podium medals in this event at the last championships in Benin only means that the event did not deliver the same success it did there and that this will only reflect negatively when the total medals are tallied at the end of the championships.
In other finals of the day, South African athletes continued to open up a lead in the number of gold medals they are harvesting at the championships. Sunnette Viljoen won the finals of the women javelin by throwing 65.32m, Khotso Mokoena won the triple jump finals by jumping 17.03m while Cheyne Rahme won the finals of the men pole vault event with 5.41m.
Other gold medalists of the day included Mostafa Hicham of Egypt who threw 79.09m to win the men's hammer throw, Tyron Akins of Nigeria who won the men's 110m hurdles in 13.57 and Martha Koala of Mauritius who won in the women heptathlon event.
The highlights of the final day of the championships will include the women's 3000m steeplechase, men's 1500m, men's 5000m, women's 800m and men's javelin throw. These are the events that Kenyans are doing very well on the global stage and a possibility of a greater medal haul on this day will be possible.
Asbel Kiprop will lead Ronald Kwemoi and James Magut in their mission to win the medals for the country in the men's 1500m finals. Three women are also through to the finals in the women 800m; Eunice Sum, Janeth Jepkosgei and Agatha Jeruto.
Both Kenyan 5000m men and women 3000m steeplechase runners had done well at the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and are obviously going to replicate the same here in Marrakech. The same case will also even be more likely with the defending champion of the javelin event, Julius Yego, who is also fresh from winning the Commonwealth Games title.
With three gold medals, Kenya at this day is placed third behind South Africa and Nigeria at the medal table standings. There is only one day to go before the close of the championships and to maintain, or better their position, Kenyan athletes will need to give their best in the remaining events.
Kenya finally gets two gold medals on the third day of the championships in Marrakech when everything was beginning to look like the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil where the Argentinian players were missing good chances to score goals and their fans were getting disappointed. Kenyan athletes missing the gold and silver medals in the women 5000m and the men's 10,000m in Morocco was also like them kicking the ball outside the goal posts when the goal keeper was not keeping guard.
It was a great relief for Kenyan fans when Jairus Birech finally led Kenyans to a 1-2-3 finish in the men's finals of the steeplechase event. Jairus won the race in 8:34.79, Jonathan Ndiku was second in 8:37.67 and Ezekiel Kemboi was third in 8:39.30. The steeplechase event has always been one event in which Kenyans excel the most on the global stage in the recent past and if there wasn't going to be a gold medal here, then Kenyans would have had a real reason to believe that something was wrong with the squad send to represent the country at the African Championships.
Jonathan Ndiku had won a gold medal for Kenya at the Commonwealth Games, but Jairus who had taken the silver at the same event was able to have his day here in Marrakech when he exchanged his Commonwealth position with Ndiku's to win the gold medal here. Ezekiel Kemboi maintained his bronze medal position.
The second gold medal was from Hellen Obiri who recovered from her Glasgow disappointing 6th position to win a gold medal here in the women's 1500m event. Faith Kibiegon, who had won gold at the Commonwealth Games, finished in fifth place. Obiri won the race in 4:09.53, Dawit Biratu of Ethiopia was second in 4:10.92 while Morocco's Rahab Arafi was third in 4:12.08.
Isaac Makwala of Botswana won the men's 400m even in 44.23, Wayde Van Niekerk from South Africa was second in 45.00 while Kenya's Boniface Mucheru settled for the bronze medal in 45.07. There was no medal for Kenyans in the women's event that was won by Nigeria's Abugan Folashade who ran 51.21 followed by Mupoko Kabange of Zambia in 51.21 for second place and Okon Patience of Nigeria in 51.68 for third place. Maurine Jelagat of Kenya finished in 5th place.
Nicholas Bett also won a bronze medal for Kenya in the 400m hurdles by finishing in 49.03. It was a race that Cornel Fredericks of South Africa won in 48.78 followed by Nigeria's Amaechi Morton in 48.92.
Nigerians dominated the women discus throw led by Okoro Chinwe followed by her compatriot Okwelogu Nwanneka before Elmouden Amina of Morocco settled for the bronze. But, Morocco won the women high jump through Siba Rhizlane as Mosaad Mohamed of Egypt won silver and Ethiopia's Dibow Ubang won the bronze.
Kenya finished fourth in both the men and women 4x100m relays. They finished behind Nigeria, Ghana and Algeria in the men's event and behind Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana in the women's.
As feared in the men's 800m, Nijel Amos of Botswana, Aman Mohammed of Ethiopia and Makhlouf Taoufik of Algeria won the podium positions respectively in the event. Two Kenyans; Ferguson Rotich and Evans Kipkorir finished in fourth and fifth places respectively.
There are two more championship days ahead and some more chances for Kenyans to harvest more medals in the remaining events.
Kenyan athletes were paid back in exactly the same measure by their neighbors, the Ethiopians, in the women 5000m finals in Marrakech. Almaz Ayana won the gold medal in the event after running 15.51.72 followed by her compatriot, Genzebe Dibaba who ran 15.52.16. Janeth Kisa came third in 15.54.04 to secure a bronze medal for Kenya.
In Benin, it was Kenyans who had won gold and silver during the 2012 African championships and spared the bronze medal for the Ethiopians. The exact opposite just happened here in Marrakech. Mercy Cherono who had carried the hopes of many Kenyans for a gold medal in the event was only able to finish 5th behind another Kenyan, Margaret Wangare. A third Ethiopian, Kidsan Alema completed the first top six positions.
In the men's discus throw finals, South Africans continued to establish a lead on the medal counts by winning gold and silver in the event. Victor Hogan won by throwing 62.87m followed by his countryman, Rusell Tucker in 62.15m. Nigeria's Stephen Mozia threw 57.11m to settle for the bronze position.
As expected, Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria won gold in the women 100m finals and also set a new championship record of 11.00. Claude Muriel of Cote d'Ivoire won silver in 11:03while her compatriot, Marie Gonezie followed her to take the bronze medal in 11:20.
Wilfred Koffi Hua of Cote d'Ivore won the men's version of the race in 10.05. Two Nigerian athletes, Mark Jelks and Edward Monzavous, followed him to take silver and bronze in 10.07 and 10.16 respectively.
The finals of the women 100m hurdles was won by South Africa's Rikenette Steenkamp. Rosvita Okou Bodjiho of Cote d'Ivoire won silver while Nigeria's Nichole Denby settled for the bronze medal.
By the end of the second day of the competitions in Marrakech, Kenyans were yet to win a gold medal, but the future is not bleak for them as many of their athletes on this day managed to sail through to the finals in a number of events.
Ferguson Rotich, Cornelius Kiplagat and Evans Kipkorir are already through to the finals in the men's 800m event. But, it doesn't look all that promising for them to deliver a gold medal given the fact that they will be up against Nijel Amos of Botswana, Ethiopia's Mohammed Aman and Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria in the finals.
Both Boniface Mucheru and Mark Mutai qualified for the finals in the men's 400m, the event in which the new upstart, Isaac Makwala of Botswana is the favorite to win.
The women version of the race also has two Kenyan women, Maurine Jelagat and Jecinta Shikanda already through to the finals and with the absence of Amantle Montsho, who is being faced with a doping case, in this race, anything will happen. A gold medal for Kenya cannot be ruled out to come from this event.
Nicholas Bett was also able to make to the finals in the men's 400m hurdles with the fastest time so far at the championships, 49.33. The question is whether he will be able to lead again during the finals.