Kenya Prisons’ Samuel Gathimba and Emily Ngii from Kenya Defence Forces are the new African Games men and women’s 20km race walk champions.
Gathimba, the Kenya Prisons constable, outclassed Ethiopian Yohanis Algaw in a thrilling sprint finish to win the men’s event in 1 hour, 22 minutes and 48 seconds and complete a continental double on Wednesday in Rabat, Morocco.
It was a great victory for Gathimba, who was forced to settle for silver during the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville, Congo, losing the battle to South Africa’s Lebogang Shange in 1:26.43 against 1:26.44.
This time around it’s Algaw, who romped home for silver in 1:22:50, as South Africa’s Wayne Snyman in 1:23:38 settled for bronze.
Gathimba’s compatriot Simon Wachira came in fourth in 1:24:40.
Gathimba, who is also the 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, had last year defended his Africa title, clocking 1:25:14 in the championship that was held in Asaba, Nigeria.
It was the first victory by Kenya since David Kimutai’s exploits at the 1999 African Games in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Ngii, a Kenya Defence Forces Corporal, finally had her day of glory when she floored her arch rival and teammate Grace Wanjiru to second place.
Ngii romped home in 1:34:41 to edge out the six-time Africa champion Wanjiru in 1:34:57. Yehualeye Beletew from Ethiopia took bronze in 1:35:21.
The writing was on the wall for Ngii after she beat Wanjiru for the first time at the Kenya Defence Forces Championships clocking 1:39:09 on July 3 this year, before conforming the victory win another win at the trials for the African Games on June 22 in 1:38:43.
Wanjiru settled second in both events in 1:39:27 and 1:39:31 respectively.