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Kiprop leads strong African team for IAAF Continental Cup

31 August 2014, 10:20

Nairobi - Kenya's Asbel Kiprop was named in a strong African team for the IAAF Continental Cup Championships, despite having skipped the Commonwealth Games.

Kiprop will be among the elite runners who will be parading in Marrakech, Morocco from Sept. 10-14 for the IAAF Continental Cup, whose entry is through the respective continental confederations.

The Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA), whose headquarters are in Yaounde, Cameroon, has selected African team.

Mustafa Fahmy, the CAA Secretary General said Africa has a high potential to dominate the championships, which return to the continent after Johannesburg staged the same back in 1998. Split City in Croatia held the last IAAF Continental Cup in 2010.

"Africa has huge potential and some of the biggest names in track and field. We are hosting the championships after having another successful Africa Senior Championships in the same city and it shows we are ready," said Fahmy.

However, Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha, who is recovering from a long injury, will skip the championships. Rudisha will not be defending the two-lap race, which he won in Split City in 2010.

During the last championships, Americas ruled the roost claiming 422.5 points ahead of Europe 417, Africa 293 and Asia/ Pacific 290. It is a ranking Fahmy is certain, team Africa will remedy to top the tables at the end of the contest.

The team Africa announced it will unfortunately be missing sprinting star Murielle Ahoure of Nigeria, who declined her participation. Six Kenyan winners from Commonwealth Games are included.

Among them is Kiprop in the 1500m, Jairus Birech in the 3,000m steeplechase and also Botswana top stars Isaac Makwala for 200m and 400m and Nijel Amos for the 800m.

Fresh winner from the Zurich Diamond League Cornel Fredericks is selected for 400 metres hurdles with a strong triple presence led by Khotso Mokoena.

Technical events and mainly throws are as usual not that strong with one exemption, javelin with world leader Ihab Abdelrahman of Egypt and Commonwealth and African champion Julius Yego (Kenya) being the stars to beat.

On the women side Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria is selected for the 100 metres and 4x100m relay. World Champion Eunice Sum is in the athlete to beat over the 800 metres distance while Hellen Obiri is selected for 1500m.

Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba will lead the quest in the 3000 metres with Mercy Cherono while Hiwot Ayalew will compete in the 3, 000m steeplechase. In technical events to mention Sunette Viljoen in javelin.

The athletes were selected based on their performances this season, especially at the Africa championships in Marrakech.

South Africa dominated the 19th Africa senior championships, which ended on Aug. 14 in Marrakech by picking up 10 gold medals, 5 silver and 4 Bronze.

The podium was completed by Nigeria (8 gold, 9 silver, 7 Bronze) and Kenya (7 gold, 8 silver, 10 bronze).

It is important to note that 9 new championships records were set and 21 national records were broken.

With 49 countries attending in Marrakech, 20 won at least one medal while 33 countries have succeeded to place one finalist. The next edition will take place in 2016 in Republic of South Africa.

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