The curtains have come down on the track and field season.And Africa hasn’t been ridiculous in the various competitions, with some fine discoveries. SNA has chosen five of them.
Emmanuel Wanyonyi, Kenya 800 m
Emmanuel Wanyonyi is a sure thing in Kenyan athletics. The 19-year-old nugget has made a meteoric rise this year. In his first World Athletics Championships, the world junior champion finished second on the 800 m podium behind Canada’s Maroc Arop. But the Kenyan exacted his revenge in the Diamond League final. He outclassed Arop to claim his first title.
Diribe Welteji, 1500 m Ethiopia
Diribe Welteji is one of this season’s 1500 m revelations. The Ethiopian was the main challenger to legend Faith Kipyeyon. She finished second at the World Championships, just behind the two-time Olympic champion. And in the Diamond League final, she also settled for second place behind the Kenyan. Thanks to her fine season, Welteji has been selected by Ethiopia for the Mile at the World Road Race Championships in Riga, Latvia. Here, too, she will be up against Faith Kipyeon, who is aiming for a third world title this year.
Louis François Mendy, Senegal 110 m hurdles
The Senegalese sprinter has been impressive this season. The 24-year-old has repeatedly bettered the Senegalese national record for the distance. In Troyes, he set a best time of 13s18.At the World Athletics Championships, Mendy won his heat in 13s24. Unfortunately, he was disqualified in the semi-final for a false start. A major disappointment for the Senegalese, who had been dreaming of a place in the final. But it’s all in the balance for Louis François Mendy. He has now qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Muzala Samukonga, Zambia 400 m
Muzala Samukonga is one of Africa’s 400 m hopefuls. The 20-year-old Zambian struck a blow at the Gaborone meeting last April. He set a season’s best time of 43s91. The reigning African champion thus ran under 44 seconds for the first time in his career.
Marthe Koala, Burkina Faso long jump
Marthe Koala has put in some fine performances this season. The Burkinabe reached the final of the long jump at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. A first for the 29-year-old athlete. The Bobo-Dioulasso native came 7th with a leap of 6m68.Earlier this year, she won gold at the Jeux de la Francophonie in Kinshasa.