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JUNIOR WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS: Kenya challenges America (again)

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At Barcelona where the junior world athletics championships kick off on July 10, Africa will be represented by 208 athletes amongst whom 89 are ladies from 34 countries. A symbolic presence for most of the nations. As reality will want in the African athletics landscape, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Algeria and Morocco will be the continent’s leading forces at the tournament. With an assembled group of 25 athletes, it will be difficult for Kenya to do better than at Moncton (Canada) in 2010 where they stole the show for the strong American contingent by winning 15 medals and the team title. However, the runners from the East African high plateaus will certainly not be far from the podium. Like the previous editions, they will be counting on the short and long distances where there is serious competition. Some runners have already recorded times that are worthy of those of the best senior runners. Allusion is being made here to Timothy Kitum, 1’43”94 au 800 m, Hillary Cheruiyot Ngetich, 3’40”96 au 1500 m, Geoffrey Kirui, 27’08”44 sur 10 000 m and Conceslus Kipruto, 8’08”92 in the men’s 3000m steeplechase as well as Faith Chepngetich Kipyego, 4’03”82 in the 1500m and Agnes Chebet, 15’49”6 at the 5000 m. This time around, South Africa presents the largest contingent with 31 athletes amongst who are 17 ladies and will have high expectations in the sprint from Siphelo Ngguboza (10”35 at the 100 m and 20”87 at the 200 m), Philippa Van der Merwe (11”65 at the 100 m), Kayla Gilbert (13”81 at the 110 m hurdles),Pieter Conradier (56”68 at the 400 m), jumps and shut put, with Mpho Maphuta (8, 00 m at the long jump), Morné Moolman (75,08 at the javeline) as well as the relay (39”59 in the 4X100 m). Nigeria who only finished 26th at the 2010 edition with three medals, the West Africans are making the Spanish trip this time around with greater ambitions.The Nigerians will want to capitalise in the sprints and relays to win medals: attention will be paid to Goodness Thomas (11”90 in the 100 m), Wisdom Isoken (23”89 in the 200 m); Omolara Omotosho (51”28 in the 400 m) and the relay races4X100 m (43”44) and 4X400 m (3’30”84) in the ladies while the men will be eyeing medals through Jonathan Nmaju (10”38 in the 100 m and 21”38 in the 200 m), Madunta Chukwuma (46”87 in the 400 m) and the unavoidable relay team (39”54 et 3’06”36).Outclassed over the years by their rivals, Kenya, Ethiopia will be putting all their eggs in one basket (1500 m, 5000 m and 10 000 m) without any great assurance as there is stiff competition. To complete this chart of countries vying for medals, some of them are hoping to hang of something. We are making mention here of Algeria (800 m, 1500 m), Botswana (Nigel Amos, 1’43”11 in the men’s 800 m), Eritrea’s Abrar Osman Adem (13’17”32 in the 5000 m) and Morocco through Abdelhaid Labali, 3’37”59 in the 1500 m, Soufian Bouqantar, 13’19”59 in the 5000 m. FACTS AND FIGURES AFRICAN PARTICIPATION AT BARCELONA South Africa, 31 (17 ladies) ; Algeria, 11 (3); Angola 3 ( 3); Benin, 1; Botswana, 3 (1) ; Burkina Faso, 1 (1); Côte d’Ivoire, 1 (1); Cameroon, 1 (1); Congo, 1; Comoros, 1; Djibouti, 1; Egypt, 3 (1); Eritrea, 13 (4); Ethiopia, 20 (10); Gabon, 2 (1); Equatorial Guinea, 1; Ghana, 9 (4) , Guinea, 1; Mauritius, 1; Kenya, 25 ( 9) ; Lesotho, 1, Madagascar, 1, Morocco, 13 (3); Mozambique, 1; Namibia, 1 (1); Nigeria, 27 (16) ; Niger, 1; Uganda, 5 (3) ; DR Congo, 2 (1) ; Rwanda, 1; Senegal, 1; Seychelles 1 (1); Sierra Leone, 1; Sudan, 5 (1), ; Tunisia, 8 (4) ; Chad, 1; Togo, 1 (1); Zambia, 2 (1) ; Zimbabwe, 5 (1). 2010 medalists (Moncton, Canada) 1. Kenya, 15 medals (7 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze). 5. Ethiopia, 5 (2, 3, 0). 15. South Africa, 3 (1, 0, 2). 26. Nigeria, 3 (0, 3, 0). 29. Algeria, 1 (0, 1, 0). 36. Uganda, 2 (0, 0, 2). 39. Egypt., 1 (0, 0, 1), Morocco, 1 (0, 0, 1). Classification by points at the 2010 edition 1. United States, 185 pts. 2. Kenya, 119 pts. 8. Ethiopia, 56 pts. 16. Nigeria, 29 pts. 20. South Africa, 22 pts. 25. Uganda, 17 pts. 34. Morocco, 13 pts.44. Algeria, 7 pts. 49. Egypt., 5 pts. 58. Botswana, 3 pts. Kenyan results since 1998 1998: 4th. 13 medals (3, 7, 3). 2000: 1st: 14 (7, 4, 3). 2002: 2nd: 8 (5, 1, 2). 2004: 3rd: 7 (4, 2, 1). 2006: 1st: 15 (6, 7, 2). 2008: 3rd: 11 (4, 5, 2).

Signature : Fayçal Chehat

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