News 2003
Back to news

December 2003
  • The work to equip Dakar's Iba Mar Diop stadium with a tartan track will be completed by the end of the month. With the support of IAAF president Senegalese Lamine Diack, the Dakar meet, which will be transferred from Leopold Sedar Senghor stadium to Iba Mar Diop, should be granted an IAAF label as soon as 2005.

November 2003
  • Former Ugandan sprinter Joseph Ssali died from a brain tumour, aged 37. He belonged to the team that still holds the national 4x100m record, 39"67 set at the 1987 All Africa Games in Nairobi.

  • 20 year old steeplechaser from Mauritius Khemraj Reedoye has moved to Kenya for 2 years to study design at St Patrick's college in Iten.

  • Young Ethiopian quartermiler Rebica Chinesho died of malaria she had contracted at the All-African Games in Abuja. She was 17. The winner of the decathlon, Egypt's Mustafa Taha Hussein, had to be taken to hospital for the same reason.

  • Two Ethipian athletes who had travelled to the Netherlands this summer to try to qualify for the world championships, failed to come back home at the end of the season. They are Bulte Bekele (8'37"19 on 3000m steeple) and Gezahegn Bekele (800m runner).

  • Madagascar's decathlete Gervais Tezavelo was absent from the Indian Ocean Islands Games that took place at the beginning of September, as he deserted a training camp in Northern France to enlist in the Foreign Legion. Fellow countryman, Riri Josveh Tonganirina Thamond, the high jump national record holder, had to go back to Madagascar after failing to meet the selection criteria to follow Tezavelo in the army. As a punishment, he was dropped from the national team.
    On the other hand, sprinter Hanitra Rakotondrabe, who is now a national sprint coach, could be seen in action, though she retired after the Francophone Games two years ago. As there is no successor ready yet, Rakotondrabe decided to make a comeback, but just for one competition.

  • High jump world champion Jacques Freitag was a South African schools kick boxing champion. A sport in which he still trains to improve his arm speed.

October 2003
  • Kenyan runner Benson Masya passed away at the end of September, aged 33. At the beginning of the 90ies he won the Great North Run half-marathon four times and the Honolulu marathon three times.

  • After Qatar, here comes Barhain. After IAAF recently cleared young Kenyan runner Gregory Meritei Konchellah (new name Yusuf Saad Kamel) to run for Barhain, the chairman of Kenya Athletics Isaiah Kiplagat protested over the fact they were never consulted on the matter.
    Runners Leonard Mucheru and Abel Cheruiyot (new name Abel Yacoob Jowher Salem) will certainly have more difficulties before they get cleared. The former represented Kenya at this year's world indoors championships and the latter at 2002 World cross-country championships. Thus they'll probably have to wait for three years before they can wear their new colours.

  • Ghana's heptathlete Margaret Simpson could have switched to Mauritius ? A point of view from the island : an article by Reynolds Quirin.

  • South African steeplechaser Alexander Motone failed a doping test for nandrolon and got a 2-year suspension.

  • Kenyan sprinter Hellen Chemtai is also hockey player at national level.

  • World vice-champion and African record holder in the triple jump, Françoise Mbango chose to associate her image with the assocition Synergies africaines contre le sida et les souffrances (African synergies agains AIDS and suffering), an organization launched in 2001 through the impetus given by the wives of African heads of State.

September 2003
  • The Indian Ocean Island Games were held in Mauritius from August 29 to September 7. Reynolds Quirin reports about Stephan Buckland and Eric Milazar's performance.

  • South African runner Elana Meyer broke her sternum in a car accident in the US.

  • Kenyan Sports Minister Najib Balala announced that two street names in Nairobi will be named after world champions Catherine Ndereba (marathon) and Eliud Kipchoge (5000m).

  • The Moroccan federation has just opened its website (in French).

  • A last minute withdrawal at the World championships, Kenya's Bernard Lagat had actually failed a drug test for EPO at the Berlin meet. He was later exculpated from doping after the counter-analysis gave a negative result.

August 2003
  • Paris world championships' info

  • He was the 1990 African champion in the javelin. Colonel Fidèle Rakotonirina, Madagascar's national record holder in the event (69,92m), died on August 21 at Sovinandriana's military hospital.

  • A former general secretary of the Senegalese federation, Jacques Hoppé died aged 58.

  • Burundi's Anésie Kwizera left the African junior championships with a title on the 5000m and a cow offered by the governor of Garoua (Cameroon).

  • Hampered by a serious knee injury, Chad's Nadjina Kaltouma had to make a choice between undergoing surgery or a long period of rest. The 200m and 400m African champion chose the second option and won't compete this season. One can also read in the American magazine Track and Field News that she is a couple of months pregnant but the information haven't been confirmed elsewhere for the moment.

  • Statistician Yves Pinaud, the specialist in African athletics, publishes each year in July the lists of the 100 best performances achieved by Africans the previous year, for all events.

    You can find African Athletics 2003 (for a price of 17 €) or any previous number since 1979 (except 1981 and 1983) on Polymedias' website or by contacting La Mémoire du Sport, 103 rue de Paris, 94220 Charenton-le-Pont, FRANCE, Tel. 00 33 (0)1 48 93 10 10

July 2003
  • Nigeria's quartermiler Falilat Ogunkoya had a big scare during her national championships: during the heats she suddenly had to stop to avoid a hammer to avoid a hammer that fell in front of her.

  • Wilfred Bungei, Kenya's current best athlete on 800m, got a bout of malaria, which prevented him to take part to the Kenyan trials. He thus won't be able to run in Paris.

    Stephen Cherono and Albert Chepkurui will certainly be absent too, as they wish to run for Qatar in the future. The former, current world leader on the 3000m steeple, didn't show up for the trials. The latter, finished 4th of the 10.000m but finally turned down his selection in the Kenyan team (he was initially selected as the athlete ranked third didn't achieve the qualifying standards). If the Kenyan federation disapprove their move, both athletes will have to wait three years, starting from their last selection for Kenya, until they are allowed represent their new country.

  • The international federation granted a special dispensation to Algerian runner Ali Saidi Sief to qualify for the world championships. While his suspension for doping will be over on 17 August, he'll have the possibility to get an A standard until the 27, on the eve of 5000m heats. Saidi-Sief said he'd need a few days before taking a decision. A meet could be organised especially on this purpose in Algiers on 18 August.

  • The Moroccan record holder in the high jump Hind Bounouail (1,75m) is now to be called Hind Na´ko since her marriage with Khemraj Na´ko, Mauritius's record holder in the same event (2,28m).

  • Sprinter Myriam Léonie Mani of Cameroon, a finalist at the world championships in Edmonton, exposed herself to aggravated sanction as she competed on 18 May despite being provisionnally suspended for a doping offence. She failed an out of competition test carried on 30 April 2002 for nandrolone. Her case is due to be heard by the Court of Arbitration in Sport in New York on 25 July.

June 2003
  • Ethiopia's Gezahegne Abera, world and Olympic champion on the marathon, got married with fellow countrywomen and marathoner Elfenesh Alemu, 6th at the Olympics in Sydney.

  • The Central African Republic will be to the fore at the summer world championships in Paris this summer : a picture featuring hurdler Maria Conjungo was selected to be used for Paris 2003's official poster. Read Maria's interview.

May 2003
  • The Algerian federation signed a 3-year contract with the French sportswear company "Le Coq Sportif" to equip the national Youth, Junior and Senior team.

  • Kenyan runner Pamela Chepchumba and Morocco's Asmae Leghzaoui failed a drug test for EPO during the cross-country world championships in Lausanne.

  • US-based Ghanean sprinter Henry Hagan (46"34 on 400m in 1993) died too soon aged 31.

  • Nigerian sprinter Joan Uduak Ekah has left Spain and now trains in Milan in Italy.

  • Algerian runner Ali Saidi-Sief won't take part to Paris world championships as he won't be able to make his return to competition - after his doping-suspension - before August 18th in Helsinki. By then the qualifition deadline will be over. His main target of the season will thus be the Panarabic Games organised by his country in September.

  • South-African runner Elana Meyer, Olympic 10,000m silver medallist in Barcelona, was suspended pending hearing after testing positive for caffeine during a road race in February in Bali.

April 2003
  • Kenyan Samson Kitur, 400m bronze medallist at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, died suddenly on April 27, aged 37.

  • The Nairobi AAC Permit meet initially scheduled for May 3rd was postponed to September.

  • Nigeria's 800m runner Oluoma Nwoke (17 ans, 2'03"75) had to stop any physical activity since she was diagnosed with a weak heart condition during a medical check while trying to enlist in the British army. Only an operation (very uncertain for the moment as it costs more than 50,000 dollars) could allow her get back on track.

  • Senegalese sprinter Fatou Bintou Fall, who defeated her fellow countrywoman Amy Mbacke Thiam on 400m in the Dakar meet, comes from a sporting family. Her grandmother's brother Amadou Gakou, was 4th on 400m (45"01) at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, two of her aunts played for Senegal in basket-ball and her father is president of a localdistrict in football (Tivouane).
  • Cash-strapped Uganda's athletics has found a providential sponsor in David Ezra, a former sprinter now doing business in real estate. After funding part of the trip of the junior cross-country team to the World championships in Lausanne, Ezra announced his decision to inject 100,000$ to help the development of the national elite. The money will be used amongst others to fund a middle and long distance high-altitude training camp for 10 months in Kapchorwa, the purchase of three acres of land where a 400m-cinder track and shelter for the athletes will be built and air tickets for international events.

  • Kenyan runner David Kimani, a student at University of Alabama and multiple NCAA champion in cross-country and middle-distance, died suddenly on April 16th. He was 25.

  • South-African sprinter Morné Nagel split with longtime coach Hansie Coetzee and could start working with Frankie Fredericks.

  • 200m world indoors silver medallist, Cameroon's Joseph Batangdon has planned to do a three-weeks training camp in Nambia in April.

  • The town of Marrakech (Morocco) was awarded the organisation of the World Youth championships in 2005. The Kenyan federation is a candidate to organize the 2006 cross-country world championships in Mombasa. Japan and Australia are also candidates for the event.

  • Gary Kikaya recently won the 400m in the main US university championships indoors following his outdoor title last season. His father is the Democratic Republic of Congo's Minister of Information.

  • Namibia Frank Fredericks became father of a girl named Soraya Jamaica on April Ast

  • Burger Lambrechts's two-year suspension is over but the South-African shot putter will only be able to compete when he has paid back the prize money he won two years ago.

March 2003
  • Because he couldn't get the necessary visa, Africa's 800m champion Djabir Said Guerni (Algeria) had to give away his plan to do a training camp in Saudi Arabia and went back to Paris to prepare for the summer season.

  • Algeria's Ali Saidi Sief doesn't have a coach any more, as he put an end to his cooperation with Azzedine Brahmi, who was coaching him since his doping suspension and the split with Frenchman Philippe Dupont.

  • The next Arabic championships that were due to take place in Cairo (Egypt) in April have been cancelled because of the war in Iraq.

  • The Khalifa meet which is due to take place in Algiers on July 14th will have to do without Hicham El Guerrouj, a bit too greedy in the eyes of the organisers : it is said that his manager requested 100.000 $ for his participation.

  • Senegalese Amy Mbacke Thiam, 400m world champion in Edmonton in 2001, was sent to train at Sherbrooke University in Canada to avoid the social and family pressure that she undergoes in her country.

  • The first Kenyan Olympic champion Naftali Temu died of illness on March 10, aged 58. He won the 10.000m gold medal in Mexico (1968) before getting the bronze on 5000m a few days later.

February 2003
  • Worrying series of failed drug tests in South Africa. After Francois Coertze (400mH) et Innis Viviers (400m), suspended following positive tests for androstenedione after the ABSA meet in Bloemfontein on February 7th, Isaiah Nkuna (800m- 1500m) failed a test for 19-Norandrosterone the following week in Stellenbosch. Pole vaulter Okkert Brits got a warning for failing a test for ephedrine during the ABSA meet in Potchefstroom on January 31st. They apparently all blame contaminated supplements. But shouldn't they be aware of the risks ?

  • Specialised in athletics, Christophe Kopkpa Oté, a sports journalist for Ivory Coast's daily "Fraternité Matin", died in mid-February aged 52 from complications linked to diabetes.

  • Zerisenay Tadesse, the rising star of Eritrean athletics, was a moutain bike runner before taking to athletics.

January 2003
  • On January 24th, the town of Pierrefitte sur Seine (located in the suburbs of Paris) signed an agreement with the federation of Cameroon to host Cameroon's national team in a three-week training camp this summer before the world championships. The athletes will train and sleep in the town's sports centre and a bus will be put at their disposal
    In the meantime, other exchanges will be organised. From January 23rd to 30th, three runners from Cameroon's police team were in France to take part in French regional cross-country championships while a team from Pierrefitte will go to Yaounde meet next April.

  • At 22, South-African sprinter Clinton Venter made his comeback to competition after a three-year doping suspension : two years for a positive drug test due due to a supplement and one more year because he had not been tested during his suspension.

  • Two Gambian athletes, Toyor Njie and Abdoulie Jobe, specialised in shot put and high jump, are about to start a five-year training course in physical education at the University of Havana (Cuba). They'll be joining Reway Ceesay and Musa King, two of their fellow countrymen already there for the same programme.

  • Namibian sprinter Franie Fredericks will become a father for the first time during the month of March. He is preceded by South Africa's Llewellyn Herbert whose son Keanu was born at the end of September.

  • After spending several years in France, Khemraz Naiko, Mauritius' recordman in high jump (2,28m), is back for good on the island. Moves to get him a job as a coach and to integrate him to the national technical direction are currently underway.

  • Algerian steeplechaser Laid Bessou has gone back to serious training 10 months after the car crash that almost killed him.

  • In Kenya, the work to lay a new Mondo track at the Nyayo National Stadium is about to start. In the future, Athletics Kenya events, which had been organised at Kasarani track for 4 years, will be shifted back to Nyayo.

  • Ivory Coast won't organise the traditional Abidjan half-marathon this year.