African sprints stars Akani Simbine, Ben Youssef Meite and Marie-Josee Ta Lou, all produced dominating performances on Day 1 at the ongoing African Championships in Asaba.
Simbine, ran the fastest time in the 100m qualifying rounds clocking 10.30s, ahead of Karim Riffayan in 10.48s and Mark Odihiambo, 3rd in 10.61s.
The Commonwealth Champion, stands as favourite to win the title as the only African to have gone sub-10s this season, and will be targeting to give a faster performance in the semi-finals.
Defending Champion, Meite of Ivory Coast also won his heat narrowly defeating Simon Magakwe, in 10.41s with the South African closing in 10.42s, while Nigeria’s Ogho-Oghene Egwero was 3rd in 10.52s.
Speaking after his race, the Ivorian said ‘’It’s my last African Championships, so it’s better for me to leave as the big dog.’’
Meanwhile in the women’s category, World Silver medallist Ta Lou, outclassed the rest of the field in Heat 1, clocking the fastest time of all heats with 11.25s. Ghana’s Janet Amponsah was 2nd in 11.63s, while South Africa’s Cassidy Williamson finished 3rd in 11.79s.
Ta Lou, who’s the defending Champion and stands as favourite for the title prior to the Championships, will now be more sure of making it back to back wins, after her stiffest rival Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor of Nigeria, withdrew from the competing in both the 100 and 200m.