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World Athletics Championships: these Africans who can make a difference in the sprint

HAShen the African continent is recognized for its long-distance and middle-distance runners, talents are emerging in the world sprint. What to create surprises? The future will tell.

Ferdinand Omanyala (26, Kenya, 100m)

A new strongman in the African sprint, Omanyala caused a sensation in 2021 with a new African record and a time of 9’77 achieved during the Nairobi meeting, placing him at the 8e place of the best world performances in history. However, his medal chances were seriously compromised by his difficulties in obtaining a visa for the United States. While his situation has settled in recent hours, Omanyala should arrive in Eugene less than three hours from the first round of the 100m, 2:40 am to be precise. Taking into account the various formalities for entering American territory, its presence during the first race is very uncertain.

Akani Simbine (28, South Africa, 100m)

Former African record holder (9’84), Simbine is still looking for his first medal in a world competition. Fifth at the Rio Games, then at the World Championships in London and Doha, before finishing 4e at the Tokyo Olympics, this year is the opportunity for him to take a step further. However, with a season best time of 10’02 at the Stockholm meeting counting for the Diamond League, he will undoubtedly have to raise his level of play to secure a place on the podium.

Benjamin Azamati (24 years old) and Joseph Paul Amoah (25 years old) (Ghana, 100 m H, relay 4 x 100 m)

On the upward curve since his first race under 10 seconds, Ghanaian sprinter Benjamin Azamati improved his country’s record from 9’97 to 9’90. He had also reached 9’86, not homologated due to too favorable a wind. He also distinguished himself by winning at the Charléty meeting. Joined by compatriot Joseph Paul Amoah, who clocked 9’94 over 100m, Ghana will look to continue their march forward in the 4x100m relay, where they have made notable progress in recent years. Note that both have participated in NCAA tournaments and will not be out of place by holding these World Championships in Oregon.

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Letsile Tebogo (19, Botswana, 100m – 200m H)

World champion in the 100m and silver medalist in the 200m among juniors in 2021, Tebogo successfully entered the big leagues by winning his first African championship title in the 200m a few weeks ago in the islands. Mauritius. With a personal best of 9’96, if it is premature to aspire to a medal this year, he could be talked about in the years to come and this edition of the championships could allow him to make himself known.

Joseph Fahnbulleh (20 years old Liberia, 100m – 200m H)

After participating in the Tokyo Olympics, in which Fahnbulleh reached the final with a qualifying time of 19’99, the young Liberian sprinter continued his progress. Elected athlete of the year in the NCAA, the American university tournament, Fahnbulleh achieved the double in the 100m and 200m and will compete in both disciplines. Nevertheless, being more suited to the half-lap, he logically presents more chances in the 200m where he achieved his personal best with a time of 19’83 to win the university tournament. Playing almost at home could increase his chances of performance in these World Championships.

Luxolo Adams (26, South Africa)

With a time of 19’82 achieved at the Paris meeting, the South African athlete fell below the twenty second mark for the first time in his career. The 26-year-old Adams, a bronze medalist at the 2018 African Championships, has a late bloomer trajectory, signifying the late bloomer. A real unknown in the competition, to see if he will be able to raise his level of play and improve his record to find a place in the discussion.

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Wayde Van Niekerk (30, South Africa, 400m H)

After very difficult years, the 400m world record holder, Olympic champion in Rio and world champion in London, is gradually recovering from the terrible ligament injury he suffered while playing a rugby match which took him away from the slopes between 2017 and 2020. For his return to international competition, he had logically been eliminated in the semi-finals of the Tokyo Games, with a time of more than 45 seconds, far from his best level. In the quest for a return to a level that meets his standards, these World Championships are a chance for him to continue his progress. With a season record of 44’58 achieved a few days ago, grabbing a place in the final would already be a first victory.

Marie José Ta Lou (33 years old, Ivory Coast, 100 m W)

The double African champion, bronze medalist in Doha and silver medalist (over 100m and 200m) at the world championships in London, is still chasing after her first title in a world tournament. Faced with the growing domination of Jamaican sprinters, the task becomes increasingly difficult. Not having fallen below eleven seconds, she probably reserves the best for the competition, especially since her personal record of 10’78 (with a slightly unfavorable wind) dates back to the qualifying rounds of the Olympic Games.

At the height of her career, she also expressed her thoughts on the concerns encountered by her colleagues, particularly those from Africa, regarding the granting of visas: “As an athlete, you work hard to be qualified for the World Championships, and after you have a visa problem…” she wrote on her social networks. How do they want athletes to perform? A situation that does not allow them to arrive on an equal footing in the competition. The Gambian athlete Gina Bass, African champion in the 100m, finds herself in this situation, to name but one.

Flavor Ofili (19 years old, Nigeria, 200m W)

Holder of the 4e world performance of the year in the 200m with a time of 21’96, achieved during the NCAA tournament, the Nigerian sprinter of LSU, considered as a great hope of the continent, has an opportunity to win her first intercontinental medal among seniors. When she was due to take part in the Olympics last year, a failure to comply with pre-Olympic doping test procedures by the Nigerian federation led to the disqualification of 10 athletes, including her.

Tobi Amusan (25, Nigeria, Women’s 100m hurdles)

At the foot of the podium at the World Championships in Doha, then at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Amusan has maintained a regularity allowing him to hope to cross this course. If the Puerto Rican champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn seems to dominate the discipline unchallenged, the competition for the podium is raging in the 100m hurdles. With the third best performance of the year (12’42), also her personal best, achieved at the Charléty meeting, the Nigerian runner can legitimately hope to enrich her record after the gold harvested at the African Championships (2018 and 2022) , the African Games (2019).

The Namibians Christine Mboma and Béatrice Masilingi absent

Unfortunately, the packages of the two Namibian sensations Christine Mboma and Béatrice Masilingi reduce the African medal possibilities. With a performance of 21’87 achieved last April, Mboma has the third best world performance of the year and seemed the most likely to upset the predictions announcing a duel between the Jamaicans Elaine Thompson-Hebrah, Fraser Pryce, the holder of the world best performance of the year Shericka Jackon (21’55), and American Abby Steiner (21’77).

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