world sporting achievements by African nations or sports person in 2013 shows hope for 2014

December 31, 2013 2:33 pm2 comments by:

Ahoure

 

As we prepare to enter into the year 2014, African nations or African sports person have made their mark in world sports. The 2013 sporting achievements have slightly increased in certain sporting events especially individual events and struggled as usual in team events. This has been followed by setbacks that look to continue in 2014.

The 2012 summer Olympics provided a glimpse of the sporting achievements by Africans. In athletics, African women came to prominence in sprint relays and continued their remarkable dominance in long and middle distance events. Ramy Ashour became the World Number 1 ranked Squash player in 2012. Yaya Toure signed for Manchester City from Barcelona. Super Eagles had almost 2 full years under Stephen Keshi and were gradually getting better as a team.

The emergence of African women in sprinting occurred at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. This is the highlight in my view of the year. Nigeria and Ivory Coast won two medals each at the short distance. Two women sprinters Ivorian Murielle Ahoure, who became a double silver medallist in 100m and 200m and Nigerian Blessing Okagbara won a bronze in the 200m and silver in the long Jump. In addition, Amantle Montsho from Botswana earned a Silver Medal in 400m but should have got the Gold Medal. These women proved that the short distance sprints are not reserved for other continents. The important bit is that they do not wish to run for another country in future events.

In the long distance events, Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba came back from injury in 2012 to win the 10,000m and Meseret Defar won the 5000m.

 

KiprotichIn the men’s field, the highlight was Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich winning the Marathon and Asbel Kiprop winning the 1500m after the disappointment in 2012 Olympics.

 

 

 

In Squash, Egyptian Squash player Ramy Ashour continued his rise to the number 1 ranking in 2012. He went unbeaten in 49 matches and lost the 50th game due to injury in November 2013. He is still young at 26 and looks set to continue his dominance in 2014 bar any injury. In fact, Egypt is a formidable nation in Squash both in the junior and senior category.

In football, Super Eagles of Nigeria won the prestigious 2013 African Cup of Nation and the FIFA Under-17 held in UAE. Yaya Toure now a world class player since his switch to Manchester City won the 2013 BBC African Footballer of Year award. The Ivorian and Manchester City midfielder beat Pierre-Emerick (Gabon and German Club Dortmund), Victor Moses and Mikel Obi (Nigeria and English Club Chelsea) and Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso and French Club Rennais) to the crown.

However, Africa continued to lose grounds in international team sports such Golf, lawn tennis, Basketball or Handball. It did not have any major winners in Golf unlike 2012 when Ernie Els won The Open championship. African nations who qualify to represent the continent in world championship continue to struggle to win group matches. They end up being knocked at the first hurdle.

There is a big decline in individual or team achievements in lawn tennis. A notable event to mention was in the Davis Cup, Morocco and Egypt promoted to Europe/Africa Zone Group II. It is 2 levels to the World Group and shows how far the 2 nations have to go in world team tennis. It also gives an insight into the level of individual players from Africa. I wrote an article titled the forgotten sports in Africa.

In international Basketball, Mozambique coached by Nasir Sale will compete in their first 2014 FIBA World Championship in Turkey. They qualified as finalist with Angola in the 2013 women qualification competition. Angola generally dominates in Basketball, Volleyball and Handball; however Algeria beat South Africa 71-68 in African Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Championship held in Angola. It was suppose to be held in Egypt but was moved due to safety reasons. I am not expecting Mozambique, Angola or Algeria to compete for the major medals at the various 2014 championship, as the level is currently very low.

There were sporting events that took place for the first time in 2013 that we could not envisage at end of 2012. These are the highlights for me Namibia hosting in March 2nd for first time a Saturday Night’s world title fight between Namibian Paulus Ambunda and Thailand Pungluang Sor Singyu

Paulus Ambunda gave a brilliant performance when he beat the champion Pungluang Sor Singyu to win the WBO bantamweight world title. He became the third Namibian world champion after Harry Simon and Paulus Moses.

Daryl Impey made international headlines when he became the first African to lead the 2013 Tour de France. Raja Casablanca reached the final of world club football but lost against best club team in the world Bayern Munich 2-0. They became the second team from outside Europe or South America to reach the final and first from Africa.

It would be unfair not to point out  setbacks of 2013. The majority have been caused by lack of finance, organisation, preparation and transparency. A review of the major achievements witnessed in 2013 stems from the organisers and sports people having a stable training preparation and well organised work plan. Football had a fair share of these failures with a number of nations losing points and 2014 world cup qualification due to administration errors or finance issues.

Recently, Kenya has been forced to set up anti-doping task force to monitor athletes in wake of drug failures. Africa has not improved on handball, volleyball, table tennis and lawn tennis. A few African nations have been absent from the sporting map and no signs of making a mark in 2014..

I hope that as we enter a new year, there are more individual achievements and increase in skill level of team sports. In addition, that achievement witnessed this year continues in 2014. There have been a lot of sporting achievements in 2013 to be proud and hopeful for the future.

Happy New Year readers, I wish you a blessed and prosperous 2014 . I hope you continue to support The Continent Observer.

Obioma Aguocha
Self Publisher:The Guide to being the Best (Paperback) 2007 & Sporting Success Simplified (E-book) 2012

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