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Athletics

Kenya top medals list at African championships

Caster Semenya claimed gold for South Africa in the 400 and 800 metres at the African championships in Asaba.
Caster Semenya claimed gold for South Africa in the 400 and 800 metres at the African championships in Asaba. Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha

They were kept waiting on the concourse at Lagos airport for three days, but once they finally arrived in Asaba, Kenyan athletes claimed the bragging rights at the African Athletics Championships, which finished on Sunday.

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Kenya's performance at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Delta State was the countrys best showing at the African championships since 2010.

Team Kenya ended with 11 gold, 6 silver and 2 bronze medals. South Africa boasted the second most impressive haul, with 9 gold, 13 silver and 8 bronze medals. Hosts Nigeria collected 19 medals, including nine gold.

Kenya's performance was all impressive as its athletes were among several delegations that were forced to sleep at the airport or were crammed into hotel rooms, while immigration and transport officials dealt with visa irregularities.

Ifeanyi Okowa, the governor of Delta State, apologised for the intial hiccups, saying: "We had only 9, 10 months to prepare for the championships and so it was a bit tedious at the start.

"But we were committed to deliver a great event and we did, and we are all happy."

Kenya dominated in the middle and long distances events, while the South Africans lined up top stars, such as Olympic and world champion Caster Semenya, who won the 400m and 800m.

The next edition of the championships will be staged in Algeria in 2020.

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