African Athletes to Watch

October 17, 2023

Over the years, the African continent has produced immense talent in athletics, especially in track events.

Kenya and Ethiopia have dominated long and middle-distance races, with Nigeria and South Africa performing remarkably in short distances and sprints.

The recently concluded World Athletics Championships in Budapest saw Kenya finish 5th, the highest rank for any African country, followed by Ethiopia in 6th. The Paris Olympics in 2024 is not far away, and the world will keep a close eye on these five African athletes.

Tobi Amusan, Nigeria (100m Hurdles)

The current 100 meters champion and world record holder faced uncertainty in her title defense due to anti-doping charges brought against her by the Athletics Integrity Unit. These charges stemmed from her failure to attend three whereabouts tests.

After a thorough review, World Athletics cleared her for competition.

This decision came as a relief, but it must have taken a toll on her as she finished 6th in Budapest. 

Faith Kipyegon, Kenya (1500m and 5000m)

At 29, she went to Budapest as a strong favorite to win the gold medal in the two disciplines. She did not disappoint. Before the Budapest Championships, she made her mark by setting world records in both the 1500 meters and 5000 meters in what will remain her best year yet.

Kipyegon has an impressive track record, being a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a two-time World Championships gold medalist, the most recent victory being last year’s event in Eugene, Oregon.

Kenya’s girl of the moment will be looking to take the Paris Olympics by storm yet again, and you can be sure it will be easy for betting sites in Kenya to put her as the early favorite for the event.  

Soufiane El Bakkali, Morocco (3000m Steeplechase)

At 27 years old, he firmly holds the title of the unrivaled champion in the 3000 Meters Steeplechase. Following his gold medal win at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, El Bakkali continued his reign by clinching gold at both the World Championships and the Diamond League last year.

He defended his title in Budapest as expected.

Wayde van Niekerk, South Africa (400m)

The 31-year-old South African has maintained his dominance in the 400 meters category, a streak that dates back to the 2015 World Championships in Beijing where he secured the gold medal.

That was followed by wins at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2017 World Championships in London.

Van Niekerk’s excellence extends to being the current record holder in the 400 meters.

Ferdinand Omanyala, Kenya (100m)

While Kenyan athletes are celebrated for their expertise in long-distance races, Omanyala is making a name for himself by excelling in sprint events.

The 27-year-old claimed the 100 meters championship at both the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the African Games.

He currently holds the title of the fastest man in Africa, achieving a remarkable time of 9.77 seconds in 2021.

He finished 7th in Budapest in a race won by American Noah Lyles and Letsile Tebogo from Botswana.

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