Tag Archives: Tampere

We did not receive visa application from AFN, says Finland Embassy

The Embassy of Finland in Nigeria has described as false reports in the Nigerian media that they were responsible for the inability of three young Nigerian athletes to travel for the just ended 17th IAAF World U-20 Championship in Tampere, Finland.

Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Secretary General, Amaechi Akawo, had revealed three days before the start of the championship that the federation was having difficulties in securing entry visas for sprinters, Joy Udo-Gabriel and Enoch Adegoke as well as long jumper, Arinze Benjamin.

The Embassy of Finland has however stated that they did not receive any correspondent from the AFN about the championship, and did not receive any request for visas.

‘The Embassy has actually not received any visa applications related to the said sports event,’ said Mirva Kulmala, Third Secretary, Embassy of Finland upon enquiry.

Meanwhile Kenya topped the medals table for the championship which ended last Sunday with a total of 11 medals made of six gold, four silver and one bronze medals followed by Jamaica with four gold, five silver and three bronze medals.


Kenya finishes top at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships

Kenya’s Solomon Lekuta took gold in the men’s 800 metres on the final day of the International Association of Athletics Federations World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland to seal his team’s position at the top of the medals table with six golds.

Lekuta and team-mate Ngeno Kipngetich secured their nation a third consecutive one-two in the event, with the pair coming home in 1min 46.35sec and 1:46.45 respectively.

Lekuta was just the stronger down the home straight in the Ratina Stadium.

“I’m really happy with the gold medal but the competition was really hot because everyone wanted it too,” said Lekuta.

“I’ve been training for this championship for a long time and I want to dedicate the gold medal to my parents.”

Jamaica, inspired by an audacious 100 and 200m double from 16-year-old Briana Wlliams, were second and the United States third – although the latter team had by far the most medals with a tally of 18 and were clear leaders on the placings table.

That said, it was an unusual position for this traditionally dominant nation, and their performance in the concluding event of the men’s 4x400m, where they were expected to win, summed up their Championships.

The US baton crashed to the track at the end of the first leg, and though it was swiftly picked up by lead-leg runner Elija Godwin, the loss of seconds would prove critical.

Italy and Belgium were charging ahead in the race for gold, the Italians seizing command on the third leg after an inspired run by Alessandro Sibilio.

He passed on to Edoardo Scotti who pulled further clear, the European under-20 champions eventually adding the world under-20 title in 3:04.05.

The US did well to salvage second with 3:05.26, with Britain taking third in 3:05.64.

But there was no problem for the US in the equivalent women’s race, where Taylor Manson was able to enjoy an effective lap of honour on the final leg before crossing the line in 3:28.74.

The US had got the final day off to a great start with gold in the women’s 100m hurdles, albeit by even less than thousandths of a second as Tia Jones marginally defeated Jamaica’s Britany Anderson, with both being credited at 13.012.

Has there ever been a closer verdict in athletics?

In the distance events, Ethiopia moved themselves up to fourth on the medal table with a superb brace of gold medals from 3,000m steeplechaser Takele Nigate and 1,500m runner Alemaz Samuel.

In the 3,000m steeplechase, Kenya’s Leonard Bett had been tipped to take gold and continue his nation’s fine, formidable record in the event, with the Kenyans having won gold at every edition from 1988 onwards.

But that run of dominance was put to an abrupt end thanks to a late, irresistible surge by Nigate, who out-duelled Bett in a gruelling home-straight battle to take gold in 8:25.35.

The women’s 1,500m was won in contrasting style by Samuel, who became the third successive champion from Ethiopia.

She made a long drive for home entering the final lap, which she covered in 61.04 to take a convincing win in 4:09.67 over Kenya’s Miriam Cherop and Switzerland’s Delia Sclabas.

Bulgaria’s Aleksandra Nacheva produced a stunning leap of 14.18m in the second round of the women’s triple jump to take her nation’s first gold medal in the event since Tereza Marinova’s triumph in 1996.

While that event may have gone to form, the men’s discus final did anything but, Jamaica’s Kai Chang causing a huge upset by taking gold in 62.36m.

In the women’s high jump, Karyna Taranda of Belarus took gold with 1.92m, with Ireland’s Sommer Lecky taking silver ahead of Colombia’s Maria Fernanda Murillo after both had cleared 1.90m.


Manangoi thrashes the best ever assembled 1500m at the World U20 Championships

Kennya’s World U-18 1500m Champion George Manangoi, proved again of what he is made of when he thrashed the best field ever assembled at World U-20 Championships that was held at Tampere, Finland.

The Rongai Athletics Club based athlete marginally defeated another prodigiously talented middle distance runner, Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway who had beaten him to second during the heats.

The 17-year-old younger brother of the world 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi, and Ingebrigtsen, just under a month younger, whose two elder brothers Henrik and Filip were respective 2012 and 2016 European 1,500m champions were always likely to produce a race worth watching.

The Norwegian last year became the youngest athlete to run the mile in under four minutes – being one of a group of runners going for broke around the final bend.

However, even the super-talented Ingebrigtsen could not resist the finishing burst of Manangoi, who added world under-20 gold to the under-18 version he won in Nairobi last year, clocking 3min 41.71.

Ingebrigtsen took silver in 3:41.89, with bronze going to Justus Soget also from Kenya in 3:42.14.

Ethiopia’s world indoor champion Samuel Tefara could only finish fifth to prove how the quality the start line up was.

Ethiopia’s Girmawit Gebrzihair raises AGE issues at the World U20 Championships

The World U20 championships that is happening in Tampere, Finland is producing trailblazers who will light the athletics scene for the next generation while at the same time, controversy on the actual age  of Girmawit Gebrzihair raises eyebrows on participants.

How old is 16 years really in Ethiopia because we know what a 16 year old invariably looks like all over the world? Gebrzihair looks older than her purported age of 16 years. To a lay man, she can easily pass for 30 year old but because junior championships are less stringent in terms of checking the veracity of age claims by athletes, such contestants claim an age that might not be truly theirs.

For fairness purposes, if Gebrzihair is not 16 then this is an indictment on IAAF which is supposed to verify athletes ages.

Ejgayehu Taye of Ethiopia (L) Beatrice Chebet of Kenya (C) and Girmawit Gebrzihair of Ethiopia (R) celebrate with their medals following the final of the women’s 5000m on day one of The IAAF World U20 Championships on July 10, 2018 in Tampere, Finland.

In 2017 according to information from the IAAF athlete profile, Gebrzihair ran an astonishing time of 32:33 in the 10 KM race, such an astounding feat for a young person for a 14 year old. This matter will be left in the court of public opinion until further notice but it does raise some eyebrows as to the fairness of such competitions.

Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet won the race while writing history as Ethiopian duo of Ejgayehu Taye and  Girmawit crossed the line in second and third place in 15:30.87 and 15:34.01 respectively.

Kiplimo wins silver for Uganda at World U20 Championships

Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo won a silver medal in the 10,000m final at the on-going World U20 Championship in Tampere, Finland.

Kiplimo finished in a time of 27:40.36 behind Rhonex Kipruto from Kenya of 27:21.08.

“This is a good start for our team as the Championship has just started. We are happy because Kiplimo won bronze in the last World U20 Championship in Poland in 2016,” Dominic Otuchet, President of the Uganda Athletics Federation told the press.

Kiplimo had led from the 1000m mark but lost his lead to Africa junior cross-country champion Kipruto who took over in stunning fashion after 10 laps and did not look back.

Otuchet said that although Kiplimo did not run a personal best time, it was good that he got onto the podium and won the country a medal.

Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi and Solomon Kiplimo Boit also from Kenya finished in third and fourth places respectively.

Visa hitch forces Nigeria to miss World U20 Championships in Tampere

Nigeria will not be competing at the 2018 World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, after the Athletics Federation of Nigeria failed to secure visas for the three athletes scheduled to represent the country at the event.

The competition of World Juniors commences today with an attendance of over 1,462 athletes from 158 countries competing in 44 events.

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria named Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Joy Udo-Gabriel, Enoch Adegoke and long jumper Benjamin Arinze as the country’s representatives at the biennial event.

An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “The athletes need Schengen visas to travel to Finland but as of Friday, the AFN has yet to secure the visas. It means the athletes will not travel for the competition’, she added.

The three athletes had been scheduled to travel to Finland on Friday but Udo-Gabriel was seen competing in the women’s 100m heats at the National Championships in Abuja on Saturday. Adegoke also competed in the men’s 100m heats at the competition.

However, athletes staged a protest demanding the removal of AFN Technical Director Sunday Adeleye, who is also their representative on the board.

The Secretary General of the federation Amaechi Akawo refused to give any comment on the issue, promising to get back, but failed to do by the time of this publication.

Ahead of the competition, Adegoke is ranked the fifth fastest junior athlete following the 10.19secs he ran at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April. Udo-Gabriel is also ranked seventh in the top 10 of the fastest junior women after she ran 11.42secs at the Commonwealth Games in April.

Manangoi to excel despite the grief

Reigning world U18 1,500m champion George Manangoi will overcome the grieve he suffered and win the title at the World Under 20 championships set for July in Tampere, Finland.

According to Kenya Junior coach Robert Ngisirei, George, who competes alongside his elder brother Elijah Manangoi, the youngster will be fit for the world showpiece that kicks off in less than two weeks.

Manangoi was second during the Kenya trials but had to leave the camp after he lost his sister during the trials and his brother Elijah was given a wild card by Athletics Kenya after he missed the finals following his win in the 1,500m semifinals during the national trials ahead of Africa senior Athletics championships to be staged in Assaba, Nigeria.

The siblings lost their elder sister Bena.

“Manangoi will overcome the grieve. I want him to look at it as inspiration and win [at the] IAAF World U20 Championships for his sister. He is a strong athlete and we want him to be at his best form mentally and physically for the championships,” said Ngisirei.

Kenya’s George Meitamei Manangoi celebrates his win in the 1500m finals during the World Under 18 Championship at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, July 14, 2017. Picture: LOC/Noor Khamis (Kenya)

Speaking on Thursday, the coach was optimistic that all shall be well in Tampere and the boy will come home with gold, the same way he did during the world U18 championships where he gave Kenya team the first gold at Kasarani.

Athletics Kenya named a squad of 27 member team for the championships but the coach was forced to give the 1500m youth champion time off to travel home.

Ngiserei said the country must be wary of the danger posed by the USA, Germany, Ethiopia, Uganda, Jamaica and China. China has selected four Under-18 world champions from the team that took part in the World U18 Championships in Nairobi last year.


South Africa unveils strong team for IAAF U20 Junior champs

A powerful 19-member team will represent South Africa at the 2018 IAAF World U20 Junior Championships to be held in Tampere, Finland from July 10 to 15.

The final team, consisting of 13 men and six women, features a number of athletes who will enter their respective disciplines among the favourites for medals.

Sprinter Thando Dlodlo, shot putter Kayle Blignaut and 400m hurdler Zeney van der Walt, have all been in record form this season, breaking SA Junior marks during the domestic campaign.

Having won global Youth titles at the IAAF World U18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya last year, versatile 400m hurdles star Sokwakhana “Soks” Zazini, High Jump prodigy Breyton Poole and Van der Walt will all be aiming for back-to-back crowns.

“While South Africa finished 22nd at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Junior Championships with three silver medals, we went on to finish top of the table at the IAAF World U18 Championships last year with 11 medals. These crop of athletes have proved they have the ability to deliver a significant improvement at the junior showpiece,” said Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana.

“We are confident in this young group of talented athletes, who have all proved they have what it takes to compete against the best in the world at the very highest level of our sport in their age division. We wish them well and we trust they will perform to the best of their ability.”

Youth athletes who were included in the provisional SA team for the biennial IAAF World U20 Junior Championships were removed in line with a local and international move to lift some of the pressure on younger athletes in development age groups.

Instead, U18 athletes will concentrate on the CAA African Youth Games to be held in Algiers, Algeria from July 18 to 28, in the build-up to the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina between October 6 to 18.