The reigning World and Commonwealth 400m champion, Amantle Montsho of Botswana and Olympic Long Jump Bronze medallist Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria coasted to new Championship records on day three of the Africa Senior Athletics Championships here at the Charles de Gaulle stadium in Porto-Novo, Benin.
Montsho retained her title from Nairobi in 2010 with ease in 49.54 seconds ahead of Nigeria's new track sensation Regina George (51.11) and Amy Mbacke Thiam of Senegal (51.68). Another Nigerian, Bukola Abogunloko placed fourth in 51.78 seconds.
Her win motivated her male colleague to victory also in the men's 400m as Isaac Izak Makwala captured the title for Botswana in a personal best time of 45.27 seconds ahead of fans’ favourite athlete, Oscar Pistorius from South Africa.
Pistorius, who was second in 45.52 seconds, missed out on the Olympic A’ standard of 45.30 he was seeking with his compatriot, William De Beer third in 45.67 seconds.
Nigeria's Amaechi Morton, competing in his first African Championships, won the men's 400m hurdles in 49.32 seconds. Mamadou Hanne of Senegal was second in 49.39 seconds and Boniface Macheru of Kenya finished third in 49.45 seconds.
Defending champion, Lj Van Zyl of South Africa could not continue the race as he tripped over a hurdle and Morton was almost stripped of his gold medal as a result of the incident. However the video replay of the race exonerated him from any wrong doing.
Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria made amends for her loss in the 100m by winning the long jump with a Championship Record of 6.96m. Last week the Olympic bronze medalist jumped to a personal best of 6.97m to win the national trials held in Calabar.
South Africans Janice Josephs and Lynique Prinsloo placed second and third with a distance of 6.29m and 6.22m respectively.
The Nigerian women’s 4x100m relay team broke their former record of 43.45 seconds which was set in Nairobi two years ago, setting a new time of 43.21s. The team comprised of Christy Udoh, Gloria Asumnu, Damola Osayomi and Lawretta Ozoh. Ghana followed in 44.35 seconds while Cote d’Ivoire won bronze with 45.29 seconds.
South Africa edged out Nigeria to win the men’s 4x100m in 39.26 seconds. The Nigerian quartet of Peter Emelieze, Obinna Metu, Adetoyi Durotoye and Ogho-Oghene Egwero ran 39.34 second for silver and Ghana took the bronze medal in 39.40 seconds.
South Africa tops the medal table with four gold, seven silver and five bronze medals at the end of Day 3. Kenya is second with four gold, six silver and three bronze medals while Nigeria is third with four gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
(Additional information/Contribution by Opeyemi Olus in Porto-Novo)
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