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Athletics In Africa – Continuous Achievements On The World Scene

This post is about Athletics in Africa – Continuous Achievements on the World Scene.
Athletics has always been an integral part of African culture and sports. Distinguished runners were always recognized particularly during wartimes when urgent messages of help or victory needed to be conveyed to distant villages. The messenger(s) were held in high esteem and attracted the attention of all villagers in several chiefdoms, great and small. It is such reverence that has led to many youths in Africa to shine in this area and gain recognition everywhere.

DOMINATING COUNTRIES IN ATHLETICS

The Confederation of African Athletics conducts the African championships. From 1979, you can see some countries in Africa dominating in scooping medals in the African championships. Such countries have not only limited themselves to local competitions but they have proceeded to bring honor to their respective countries at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships.

THE DOMINANT COUNTRIES

From 1979 to 2018 the top twenty dominant countries in athletics in Africa have been Kenya with 382 medals, Nigeria (368), South Africa (339), Algeria (193), Morocco (177), Ethiopia (156), Senegal (146), Egypt (135), Tunisia (111), Ghana (97), Ivory Coast (88), Cameroon (81), Mauritius (50), Uganda (35), Botswana (32), Burkina Faso (26), Sudan (21), Gabon (12) and Mozambique (10).

IMPROVEMENT IN PERFORMANCE IN EACH SUCCEEDING YEAR

These dominant countries in athletics in Africa have helped the continent to shine in each New Year of participation in world athletics competitions. Wikipedia outlines this nicely for everybody to prove how much African countries have fared in the world athletics championships.

AFRICAN COUNTRIES RETURNING HOME WITH MEDALS ACCORDING TO YEAR OF COMPETITION

1983
In track events 1,500m race in men’s category, Saïd Aouita of Morocco returned home with a Bronze Medal.

In track events Marathon in men’s category, Kebede Balcha of Ethiopia returned home with a Silver Medal.

In field events, Triple Jump in men’s category, Ajayi Agbebaku of Nigeria returned home with a Bronze Medal.

In this particular year, only three medals came to Africa and there was no woman in Africa who reaped a medal at world championships.

WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS IN OSAKA, JAPAN, 2007 (24 YEARS LATER)
In track events 800m in men’s category, Ajayi Agbebaku of Nigeria returned home with a Gold Medal.

In track events 1,500m in men’s category, Shedrack Kibet Korir of Kenya returned home with a Bronze Medal.

In track events 1,500m in men’s category, Lagat of Kenya returned home with a Bronze Medal.

In track events 5,000m in men’s category, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya returned home with a Silver Medal.

In track events 5,000m in men’s category, Moses Kipsiro of Uganda returned home with a Bronze Medal.

In track events 10,000m in men’s category, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia returned home with a Gold Medal.

In track events 10,000m in men’s category, Sileshi Sihine of Ethiopia returned home with a Silver Medal.

In track events 10,000m in men’s category, Martin Mathathi of Kenya returned home with a Bronze Medal.

In track events, the marathon in men’s category, Luke Kibet of Kenya returned home with a Gold Medal.

In track events 3,000m steeplechase in men’s category, the Kenyans dominated this race and won all the medals. Brimin Kipruto, Ezekiel Kemboi, and Richard Mateelong won Gold, Silver, and Bronze respectively.

In track events, 20 kilometers walk-in men’s category, Hatem Ghoula of Tunisia returned home with a Bronze Medal.

AFRICAN WOMEN REAPING MEDALS AT THE IAAF CHAMPIONSHIPS

In track events 800m in women’s category, Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya returned home with a Gold Medal.

In track events 800m in women’s category, Hasna Benhassi of Morocco returned home with a Silver Medal.

In track events 5,000m in women’s category, Meseret Defar of Ethiopia returned home with a Gold Medal. One important thing to note here is that this race was won by African women alone. Vivian Cheruiyot and Priscah Jepleting Cherono returned to Kenya with a Silver and Bronze medals respectively.

In track events 10,000m in women’s category, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia returned home with a Gold Medal.

In track events marathon in women’s category, Catherine Ndereba of Kenya walked away with a Gold Medal.

In track events 3,000m steeplechase in women’s category, Eunice Jepkorir of Kenya walked away with a Bronze Medal.

One can, therefore, conclude that in 2007 (almost two and a half decades later) African athletes had improved tremendously from the three medals men’s category they had reaped in 1983 to twelve medals in 2007. This actually shows a 400% improvement. Moreover, this time around, women have come on the world championships scene and have reaped eight medals bringing the total number to twenty medals that came to Africa. What an impressive performance.

WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS IN BEIJING, CHINA 2015

Here is how Africa performed eight years later at the World Athletics Championships held in Beijing, China in 2015:
In track events 200m in men’s category, Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa (RSA) walked away with a Bronze Medal.

In track events 400m in men’s category, Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa (RSA) walked away with a Gold Medal.

In track events 800m in men’s category, David Rudisha of Kenya walked away with a Gold Medal.

In track events 1,500m in men’s category, it was an “all African affair” as Asbel Kiprop of Kenya, Elijah Manangoi, a Kenyan compatriot and Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco reaped gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.

In track events 5,000m in men’s category, Caleb Ndiku of Kenya and Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia reaped silver and bronze medals.

In track events 10,000m in men’s category, Geoffrey Kamworor and Pau Tanui both Kenyan compatriots reaped silver and bronze medals respectively.

In track events marathon in men’s category, Yemane Tsegay of Ethiopia and Solomon Mutai of Uganda reaped silver and bronze medals respectively.

In track events, 400m hurdles in men’s category, Nicholas Bett of Kenya walked away with a Gold Medal.

In track events 3,000m steeplechase in men’s category, it was an “all Kenyan affair” with Ezekiel Kemboi, Conseslus Kipruto and Brimin Kipruto walked away with gold, silver, and bronze respectively.

Infield events Javelin in men’s category, Julius Yego of Kenya reaped a Gold Medal.

WOMEN’S ACHIEVEMENTS

In track events 800m in women’s category, Eunice Jepkoech Sum of Kenya “pocketed” a Bronze Medal.

In track events 1,500m in women’s category, Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya reaped gold and silver respectively.

In track events 5,000m in women’s category, it was an “all Ethiopian affair” as the gallant women: Almaz Ayana, Senbere Teferi and Genzebe Dibaba walked away with gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.

In track events 10,000m in women’s category, Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya and Gelete Burka of Ethiopia reaped gold and silver medals respectively.

In track events marathon in women’s category, Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia and Helah Kiprop of Kenya walked away with gold and silver respectively.

In track events, 3,000m steeplechase in women’s category, Hyvin Jepkemoi, and Habiba Ghribi lifted gold and silver medals respectively.

In field events javelin in the women category, Sunette Viljoen of South Africa (RSA) reaped a bronze medal.

Therefore, 2015 was a good year as the number of athlete achievers had gone up. 17 medals were grabbed by men while their female counterparts secured 13 bringing the total number of medals for Africa to 30. The number of medals brought to Africa had increased by 10. This is a marvelous improvement.

THE 2019 IIAF CHAMPIONSHIPS HELD AT THE KHALIFA INTERNATIONAL STADIUM,
DOHA, QATAR

The results for the 2019 IIAF Championships held at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar showed 3 medals less than what had been achieved in 2015 in China. That was an impressive performance for Africa because a country in Africa, Kenya to be specific, was number two to the United States of America (USA). The latter had overall points of 272 while Kenya had 124. Great Britain was 3rd with 105. Who could have dreamed of such an ambitious achievement in 1983?
None. You should look out for future achievements for Africa in the next competitions. Well done, Africa

One thought on “Athletics In Africa – Continuous Achievements On The World Scene

  1. Whenever I watch sports, I always notice how African athletes rake in all or most of the medals, it is truly impressive. It is something to be proud of. Many European sport teams also have a lot of African team members who always perform spectacularly. 

    I found the history that you mentioned in your first paragraph also very interesting. Runners during war times were recognized, a lot depended on them, didn’t it? They had to be fast. Did you know that the Ancient Incan Empire also had an incredible messaging system that relied on runners? Roads and relief houses were buit for them, and this amazing network of inca roads is still there today. 

    Are there any historical artifacts that bear witness to the history of Africa’s runners? I would be very interested in seeing them. 

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