Gina Bass makes history at African Championships

Gina Bass

Gina Bass won a close women’s 100m contest at the African Championships in Cote d’Or, Mauritius, becoming the first athlete from The Gambia to win a senior continental title.

The five-day championships got under way on Wednesday and will continue until Sunday (12), and 14 titles have been decided already.

The women’s 100m was one of the tightest battles of the championships so far, but world 200m finalist Bass emerged victorious in a wind-assisted 11.06 (4.8m/s) from Niger’s Aminatou Seyni (11.09) and South Africa’s Carina Horn (11.14).

Bass had improved her own national record to 11.08 (0.1m/s) in the semifinals. Seyni won the other semifinal in a wind-assisted 11.05 (3.2m/s) but Bass prevailed in the showdown between the pair in the final on Thursday (9).

The men’s 100m final was even closer than the women’s as just three thousandths of a second separated eventual winner Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya from Akani Simbine of South Africa. Omanyala was awarded the verdict with both men clocking 9.93 in another heavily wind-assisted final (4.5m/s). South Africa’s Henricho Bruintjies was third in 10.01.

While the 100m finals were close, there were two decisive winners of sprint hurdles finals.

Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan retained her 100m hurdles title in 12.57 (4.0m/s), winning by 0.2 from Liberia’s Ebony Morrison. South Africa’s Marione Fourie took bronze in 12.93.

Algeria’s Amine Bouanani took the men’s 110m hurdles crown in 13.26 (4.8m/s) – the fastest clocking of his career in any conditions – to add the continental title to the African Games gold he won three years ago. Olympian Jeremie Lararaudeuse claimed the first medal of the championships for the host nation, taking silver in 13.55.

The first track title of the championships was won by Mogos Tuemay in the men’s 10,000m on the opening day of the championships. He won comfortably by more than three seconds in 29:19.01, leading an Ethiopian 1-2 from Chimidesa Debele Gudeta (29:22.74). They were followed home by Kenyan duo Abraham Longosiwa (29:23.02) and Julius Kipwony (29:24.41).

Three years after winning the African U20 title at 5000m, Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet won that same distance in Saint Pierre on Thursday to earn her first senior continental title. She triumphed in 15:00.82 with Ethiopia’s Fentaye Belayneh Azale taking silver in 15:01.89, a few seconds ahead of bronze medallist Caroline Nyaga of Kenya.

The women’s 1500m was a more tactical affair with Winny Chebet prevailing in a close race from Kenyan teammate Purity Chepkirui, 4:16.10 to 4:16.28. Ethiopia’s Ayal Dagnachew Asegu was close behind in third in 4:16.45.

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