They were out of contention for the overall title, but Africa enjoyed a late rush by taking victories in the finals of field events and middle and long distance track events as the curtains fell on the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech on Sunday.
Europe got 447.5 points ahead of Americas (390), Africa (339) and Asia-Pacific (257.5)
African 5000m champion Caleb Ndiku won a competitive 3000m. After taking up the lead at half way, he went through 2000m in 5:29.68 and covered the final kilometre in 2:22.96 to hold off Europe’s Hayle Ibrahimov, winning by half a second in 7:52.64.
In third, defending champion Bernard Lagat, competing 12 years after making his debut in this competition, secured six points for the Americas with 7:53.95.
Ndiku now ends the year as the only athlete in the world to have won titles at the World Indoor Championships, a continental championship, the Diamond Race and the Continental Cup.
Africa gained the maximum 15 points in the women’s 5000m. Competing on the same track on which she destroyed a quality field to win the African title, Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana took off after 3000m to win by the huge margin of 25 seconds, stopping the clock at 15:33.32.
Joyce Chepkirui was second, holding off a late surge from European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey.
European 1500m champion Sifan Hassan broke up the African dominance of the distance events. Ethiopia’s world junior champion Dawit Seyaum darted to the front with 250 metres remaining, but Hassan had enough left in the tank to overtake her coming off the final bend, kicking on to win in 4:05.99.
Seyaum faded to third as Shannon Rowbury came through to take second place for the Americas in 4:07.21. World leader Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed, representing Africa, made history by becoming the first non-European winner of the men’s javelin at the World or Continental Cup.
Courtesy of standardmedia.co.ke