Africa’s second fastest man ever in the 400m, Isaac Makwala claimed his first individual title at the All-Africa Games, dominating the race with a time of 44.35s, even as team mate, Onkabetse Nkobolo won Bronze in 45.50s, thus giving Botswana two medals in the event. Kenya’s Boniface Mweresa was 2nd, taking Silver with a Season’s Best (SB) of 45.01s.
It has been a very busy season for the two-time African champion who has competed in a lot of events this year including the IAAF Diamond League. He eventually pulled out of running the 200m at the Brussels meeting last week, making it seem like he had already called it a season.
However, the former African Record holder was still in search of an All-Africa Games individual medal, having placed 7th in the 400m in Maputo four years ago, and 4th in the 4x400m. He also didn’t make the final of the 400m at Algiers 2007, despite winning GOLD in the 4x400m.
He said, “I just came to win the 400m, nothing else, because I want a medal. This was a busy and tough season for me. I didn’t know that I would come here. I initially planned on running the 200m when I came here, but then changed my mind and decided to run the 400m”.
The Botswana athlete says he has put the disappointment of not winning a medal at the World Championships in Beijing behind him, and has set his sights on 2016 where he hopes to make things right.
Alex Sampao of Kenya (45.59s) and Sadam Elnour of Sudan (45.65s) were 4th and 5th respectively. Nigeria’s Orukpe Erayokan, who lowered his Personal Best (PB) twice in the space of two days, placed 6th with 45.73s – his third sub 46s within a space of three days.
In the women’s event, African Championships Silver medallist, Kabange Mupopo dashed all hopes of a Nigeria 1-2-3 as she upgraded to GOLD in Brazzaville, pulling a fast one on her Nigerian counterpart, Patience Okon George.
The Zambian executed her race perfectly, storming to the title with a National Record of 50.22s, as George Okon followed in a Personal Best of 50.71s. Tosin Adeloye and Margaret Etim placed 4th and 5th respectively, clocking 51.82s and 52.64s.
Commonwealth Games 800m men’s champion, Nijel Amos easily sailed through the heats of his race to lead the pack. He returned a time of 1:50.00. Amos disclosed that his only reason for competing at the All-Africa Games, was to support his team mate, Boitumelo Masilo who finished 2nd in the other heat. The London 2012 Silver medallist stated that his mission was to help his compatriot run a faster time in the final.
Nigeria had an outstanding result in the 100m Hurdles as African Junior champion, Oluwatobiloba Amusan created an upset in the event, racing to her first senior title in 13.14s ahead of former African champion, Gnima Faye (13.28s). Another Nigerian athlete, Lindsay Lindley Wenyime took Bronze in the same event with a time of 13.30s, thus winning her first international medal whilst donning the green and white colours.
Sofia Assefa and Hiwot Ayalew stunned their Kenyan opponents to make it a Top 2 finish for Ethiopia in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase, with Kenyan athletes Purity Cherotich (9:52.54), Magdalene Masai (9:56.76) and Joan Chepkemoi (10:04.54) placing 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.