The Ivory Coast earned a sprint double on the second day of the African Athletics Championships at Kings Park Athletics Stadium in Durban as Youssef Ben Meite denied home hope Akani Simbine 100 meres gold in the men’s race and African record holder Murielle Ahoure won the women’s event in 10.99sec.
Meite produced only his second sub-10 seconds performance to clock 9.95, which would have been a personal best but was annulled for record purposes by a following wind at the Kings Park Athletics Stadium that was slightly over the allowable limit of two metres per second.
Simbine had prepared for these Championships two weeks ago at a training camp with Usain Bolt and fellow South African Wayde Van Niekerk, the world 400m champion, running 10.01 in Kingston as the world record holder won in 9.88.
But the 22-year-old South African record holder had to settle for bronze in 10.05 behind Lesotho’s rising talent Mosito Lehata, who clocked 10.04.
Carina Horn also carried home hopes in the women’s 100m, although her task there looked ominously difficult following the dominant semi-final performance of Ahoure, who set an African record of 10.78, the fastest run so far this season, less than two weeks ago in Florida.
Horn took silver in 11.07 - just one hundredth off her personal best of 11.06, the joint South African record.
The home supporters had other victories to cheer after the double gold medals of the opening day from Stephen Mokoka in the 10,000m and Jaco Engelbrecht in the shot put.
Victor Hogan won the discus with 61.68 metres ahead of fellow countryman Russell Tucker with 61.44m and Nigeria’s Stephen Mozia with 59.16m.
In the long jump Ruswahl Samaai managed 8.40m ahead of fellow South African Luvo Manyonga with 8.23m and Botswana’s Ruri Rammkolodi, who reached 7.90m.
And 100m hurdler Claudia Heunis claimed a gold medal in 13.35 in what was a personal best for the national champion, beating her previous mark of 13.36.
South Africa’s multi-discipline athlete Maryke Brits took the bronze medal in 13.47 behind Burkina Faso’s Marte Koala, who was second in 13.36.
As expected, Kenya dominated the women’s 5,000m, where gold went to Sheila Chepkirui in 15min 05.5sec ahead of team-mate Margaret Chelimo, who recorded 15:07.6.
Syrine Balti of Tunisia took the women’s pole vault title with 4.00m.