Jason begins Kenya’s medal hunt
Posted Monday, September 10 2012 at 20:00
- Jason Dunford wins one silver and bronze medal
- South Africa won five gold medals in the finals of six events held on Monday
- Dunford yet to compete in his specialities; 50m and 100m butterfly
Kenya’s Olympian Jason Dunford won one silver and bronze medal on the first day of the 11th Africa Senior Swimming Championship on Monday at the Kasarani Aquatic Complex.
Dunford returned in one minute, 56.20 seconds for a third place to win bronze in men’s 200 metres freestyle before winning silver in the 50m backstroke on a day South African swimmers called the shots in the pool.
South Africa won five gold medals in the finals of six events held on Monday, with only Elloumi Wasim of Tunisia breaking their golden charge in the men’s 100m breaststroke.
Lehesta Kemp (58.09) anchored the South Africans with a gold medal in the women’s 100m freestyle, then Rene Warnes took four minutes and 59.82 seconds to win gold in the women’s 400m Individual Medley before Kemp returned to bag her second gold (30.76sec) win in the 50m backstroke.
South Africans shine
Brown Myles (men’s 200m freestyle) and Ricky Ellis (men’s 50m backstroke) were South Africa’s other gold medallists.
Cheered on by a crowd that included sports minister, Paul Otuoma, and National Olympic Committee president, Kipchoge Keino, Dunford led the field at every turn for a better part of the 200m freestyle race but Myles, swimming in lane four, grabbed the lead in the final 50 meters.
“It was tough. I had a good dive and enjoyed the lead in the opening metres, but as we went for the final 50, the other guys came in strongly,” Dunford said after winning Kenya’s first bronze. “Hakuna shida lakini, kuna zingine zinakuja (There’s no problem though, as there are other events left in the competition),” he added.
The South African gained speed and reduced the distance between him and Dunford at the 150 meter turn. As the field tightened in the final 50 meters, Myles retained his lead, while African record holder over the distance, Ahmed Mathlouthi of Tunisia, and Dunford accelerated to finish second and third.
Dunford is yet to compete in his specialities; 50m and 100m butterfly, events in which he also holds the African record. He still has six more events to compete in, including the 50m butterfly race on Wednesday.
In the women’s 100m freestyle, Kenyans Anita Field and Soraya Oruya failed to make cut when they returned 13th and 14th respectively.
Tory Pragassa and Micah Fernadez finished ninth and 10th respectively in the men’s 100m breaststroke heats.