The World Athletics Championships drew to a close on Sunday August 27, 2023. Some African athletes shone brighter than others, perhaps writing some of the finest pages in the history of African athletics. Special mention goes to Queen Faith Kipyegon, Prince Letsile Tebogo and Hugues Fabrice Zango.
Letsile Tebogo the new African athletics phenomenon
Africa can look forward to a fine crop of medals at the 2023 World Athletics Championships. In Budapest, the black continent gleaned a total of 26 medals (9 gold, 8 silver and 9 bronze). Kenya was the most successful nation, with a total of 10 medals (3 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze) and 5th place overall. Ethiopia is just behind with 9 medals (2 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze). Uganda (11th overall with 2 gold medals), Morocco (15th with 1 gold and 1 silver), Burkina Faso (18th, 1 gold) and Botswana (26th, 1 silver, 1 bronze) are the other African countries to have collected a medal.
Faith Kipyegon, history in capital letters
History was made at the Budapest World Athletics Championships. And it was Faith Kipyegon who made it. The 29-year-old Kenyan completed the 1500-5000m double. She thus becomes the first athlete to win both distances at the World Championships.
Star Letsile Tebogo, Simbine on the floor
If the name Letsile Tebogo doesn't ring a bell, it's time to write it down and never forget it. At just 20 years of age, the Botswana native brought home his country's only two medals. Firstly, he took silver in the 100m, finishing in 9.88s (a new national record), behind American Noah Lyles. He thus became the first African to medal in this distance at the World Championships. The young man then went on to win bronze in the 200 m. His performances in Budapest, combined with his prowess over the last few months, have observers saying that Botswana and Africa may have a new track and field star in their sights.
In the 100 m, Africa was waiting for other athletes. First Ferdinand Omanyala, African record holder. But the Kenyan finished 7th out of 8 participants with a time of 10.07s. The other big name of recent years, South Africa's Akani Simbine, didn't even make the finals. This was due to a false start in the semi-finals. Quite a disappointment for the 29-year-old.
The 100m of his life 🤯
— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) August 20, 2023
Hugues Fabrice Zango and Moraa in gold
At long last.Hugues Fabrice Zango has won a gold medal at the World Championships. The Burkinabe won the triple jump with a leap of 17.64 m.This is Burkina Faso's first gold medal at the World Championships. Another athlete to win her first gold medal at the world athletics event was Mary Moraa. The Kenyan won the 800 m (with a time of 1'56''03) ahead of the great favourites, Great Britain's Keely Hodgkinson and American Athing Mu.
In the 10,000m, Joshua Cheptegei added another gold medal to his trophy cabinet. His compatriot Victor Kiplangat took gold in the marathon. The same goes for Moroccan Soufiane el-Bakkali in the 3000 m steeplechase.
Disappointments for Ta Lou, Amusan and Brume
Tobi Amusan was a major disappointment. The Nigerian lost her 100m hurdles world champion title.In fact, she finished a distant 6th in a race won by Jamaica's Williams.Nigeria was definitely not varnished during these World Athletics Championships. The other medal hopeful, Ese Brume, also failed to win a medal. However, it wasn't for want of trying, since in the long jump she achieved her best performance of the season (6.84 m). However, this only earned her 4th place.
Last but not least, a monument to Ivorian and African athletics, Marie-Josée Ta Lou, struggled in Budapest. In the 200 m final, the sprinter finished 8th out of 8 participants. Far ahead of the big names.