Mboma last in comeback race

(Fro L to R): Ghana’s Gina Miriam Bass Bittaye, Egypt’s Hemida Basant, and Namibia’s Christine Mboma compete during the women’s 100m event at the Kip Keino Classic 2024 event at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on April 20, 2024. AFP

Namibian sprint star Christine Mboma finished eighth and last in the100m in her first international race in 20 months at the Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour meet in Nairobi on Saturday.

The African champion Gina Bittaye of Gambia won the race in 11,33 seconds, followed by Hamida Basanta of Egypt in 11,51 and Shannon Rey of the United States in 11,53. 

Mboma finished last in 12,32 seconds. After the race, however, she said she pulled a thigh muscle during the race and decided not to push herself.

“I have just come back after a long lay off and this being an Olympic year, I have to protect myself to be fit in the season,” Mboma told reporters.

Botswana’s world bronze medallist Letsile Tebogo came off second best in a spectacular finish to the men’s 200m.

America’s Courtney Lindsey, who already has the season’s best of 19.88 over the distance, pipped Tebogo in a photo finish.

Both runners set an identical world-leading time for this year of 19.71 seconds.

“I am not disappointed with my performance. I am happy because we’ve almost a week getting the legs rolling after we ran in South Africa last month,” Tebogo told reporters after the race.

“I feel I executed everything perfectly today,” he added.

“I still have a long season ahead. My first Diamond League will be in Eugene on May 25. Making it into the final in the (Paris) Olympics will be a big achievement for me since it will be my first Olympics,” added Tebogo who became the first African to win a 100m medal (silver) at the World Championships in Budapest last year to add to his 200m bronze.

His compatriot and training mate, Bayapo Ndori, a member of the bronze-winning 4 x400m relay quartet in Tokyo, set a world lead of 44.10 in the men’s 400 metres.

Bayapo eclipsed the previous season’s best time of 44.29 set by Tebogo at the Athletics South Africa Grand Prix series in Pretoria last month.

American 400m champion Bryce Deadmon was second in 44.41 while another Botswana runner Leungo Scotch set a personal best of 44.54 to take third.

Kenya’s world 800m champion Mary Moraa did not face any challenge in her first race over the distance since the world championships in Budapest.

Moraa took control of the two-lap race down the back straight and hit the tape in 1:57.96, with compatriot Nelly Chepchirchir a distant second in 1:58.26.

Kenya’s African 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala lost his first Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour race since 2021 when he finished a poor fifth.

America’s 200m Olympic silver medallist Kenneth Bednarek emerged the winner in a time of 9.91 seconds ahead of Liberian collegiate student Emmanuel Matadi in 9.99.

“I am very happy with my performance,” Bednarek said.

“I have been training a lot and working hard at the track and I am pleased to see this yields results.”

In the men’s hammer, Canadian reigning world champion Ethan Katzberg outclassed both the Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki and five-time world champion Pawel Fadjeck from Poland to clinch the title.

Katzberg who became the first Canadian world champion in the hammer in Budapest, threw a world-leading 84.38m.

Mykhaylo Kokhan of Ukraine took second (80.76) ahead of Nowicki who made 79.14.

Janee Kassanavoid, the reigning world silver medallist from the United States topped the women’s hammer with a throw of 75.99 metres.

Latvian Gatis Cakss was the surprise winner of the men’s javelin in a field that included the 2016 Olympic champion Thomas Rohler and Kenya’s 2015 World champion Julius Yego.

Cakss, the two-time Latvian national champion and 2014 World junior champion threw 81.74 metres — 5.83 metres short of his personal best to beat Rohler (80.62) into second place.

“This is a very important meeting to start my season with the hope of qualifying for the Paris Olympics. I am happy to be in Kenya. It’s my first time being in Africa,” Cakss told reporters.

Belgium’s defending champion Timothy Herman was third with a throw of 79.94m. 

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