Titus Ekiru made history as the first Kenyan to win the half marathon at the African Games, as the country claimed six athletics gold medals in Rabat today.
Ekiru clocked a time of 1 hour 1min 42sec to clinch the gold medal at the Olympic Stadium in Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex.
He saw off a strong challenge from two Moroccan athletes, with Reda Elaaraby finishing second in 1:02:44 and Hamza Sahli third in 1:02:45.
It was the first of six victories for Kenya in athletics, moving them up to second in the sport’s final medal standings with 10 gold, seven silver and three bronze.
Four of their other five triumphs came on the track, thanks to Vanice Kerubo Nyagisera in the women’s 400 metres hurdles in 56.95, Robert Kiprop in the men’s 5,000m in 13:30.96, Quailyne Jebiwott Kiprop in the women’s 1,500m in 4:19.33 and George Meitamei Manangoi in the men’s 1,500m in 3:38.27.
There was also success for Kenya in the men’s javelin, courtesy of Julius Yego’s throw of 87.73m.
Nigeria held on to top spot in the athletics medal standings by virtue of having three more bronzes than Kenya.
Their two gold medals came in the women’s shot put and the women’s 4x400m relay.
Oyesade Adetola Olatoye prevailed with a throw of 16.61m, while the relay team came home first in 3:30.32.
In the men’s football gold-medal match, Nigeria failed to follow up their women’s success, losing 2-0 against Burkina Faso.
The women’s volleyball competition concluded, as Kenya came from behind to beat Cameroon 12-25, 25-15, 26-24, 25-21 in the final.
Morocco took the bronze medal after defeating Nigeria 23-25, 25-14, 25-20, 22-25, 15-13.
Egypt secured seven gold medals across archery and fencing to top both sports’ medal standings.
Their archery titles came via Sherif Mohamed in the men’s individual recurve, along with their men’s, women’s and mixed team recurve sides.
The one other archery crown went the way of Ivory Coast’s Esmei Anne Marcelle Diombo in the women’s individual recurve event.
There were also three more team wins for Egypt in fencing.
They beat Morocco in the men’s épée and women’s sabre finals, and Tunisia in the men’s foil gold-medal match.
Egypt wrapped up their domination of weightlifting by adding a further four overall titles to their collection.
There were victories for Halima Abbas in the women’s over-87kg category, Ragab Abdalla in the men’s 102kg, Gaber Mohamed in the men’s 109kg and Abdelrahman El Sayed in the men’s over-109kg.
The only overall weightlifting crown not going to Egypt was in the women’s 87kg division, won by Cameroon’s Clementine Meukeugni Noumbissi.
South Africa capped off an impressive performance in canoeing by adding another three gold medals to their tally.
Chrisjan Coetzee won the men’s K1 200m event in 34.091 before joining forces with Jarryd Gibson to take the men’s K2 200m crown in 31.926.
Esti Van Tonder also claimed victory for South Africa, with a time of 42.180 in the women’s K1 200m, as the country ended with eight gold medals at the summit of the canoeing standings.
In shooting, Morocco’s Mustapha Neblaoui and Ibtissam Marirhi took the men’s and women’s skeet gold medals, respectively.
Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo spoke of his joy after conquering three of the best table tennis players in Africa to be crowed the men’s singles table tennis champion.
Omotayo beat compatriot Quadri Aruna, the world number 19, in six games in the final.
The 24-year-old had also defeated two former champions on his way to the final – Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh and Nigeria’s Segun Toriola.
“I am very happy winning the African Games,” Omotayo said.
“I am so proud of myself because this is a big one for my career and it was a good journey for me from the start of this competition, having won against some of the best players in the continent.”
In the women’s singles, Dina Meshref retained her title to become the first female Egyptian to triumph back-to-back at the continental event. The final saw her claim a straight-games win over Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou, who had earlier edged out Nigeria’s Offiong Edem in the semi-finals. (Insidethegames)