Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Loyal to the last, Ethiopia’s wildly enthusiastic fans of the sport sat for hours in torrential rain here today, most without cover, waiting for the start of the closing session of the 16th African Athletics Championships. With 13 finals on offer, and the prospect of three more gold medals for the home squad, and perhaps a sweep in the men’s 5000m, it was not to be missed under any circumstances.
The 25,000 lucky ones who got into the National Stadium – there were thousands left outside – were at least spared the rain once the competition began. And they saw Zemzem Ahmed take the women’s 3000m Steeplechase and Kenenisa Bekele win the 5000m to take Ethiopia’s final gold medal count to six. But, to the rare neutral in the crowd, the eye-catching performance of the day was the sight of a little-known Kenyan, Pamela Chelimo, derailing Maria Mutola, the Maputo Express.