This is Witness the Wonder, the Preview to the 2023 World Champs in Budapest for Day 36, May 23, 2023; Here are five African athletes (well, six) to watch for in Budapest!
For the next 9 days, RunBlogRun will be posting a story a day on the buildup to the World Athletics Outdoor Championships, to be held in Budapest, Hungary, from August 19-August 27, 2023. RunBlogRun has now posted 36 days of stories on the World Outdoor Championships.
Here’s my story on five African athletes who, I believe, should medal in Budapest:
Faith Kipyegon of Kenya is going to battle the very best in the world, over 1,500 meters in Budapest. Faith Kipyegon is one of the most talented middle-distance runners, male or female, in the last century. Her ability to race, from behind, from the front, off a fast pace or slow pace. Watch Faith Kipyegon push for gold in Budapest.
Faith Kipyegon, 2022 Nike Pre Classic, photo by Kevin Morris
Fabrice Hughes Zango of Burkina Faso has won Olympic and World Championships medals. He is the only athlete to win medals for his country. Fabrice is a hugely talented triple-jumper. I recall back in 2019 when Christian Taylor and Will Claye, the gold and silver medalists in the TJ, suggested that the media watch Fabrice, who they both believed quite talented. Fabrice took the Olympic bronze in Tokyo and World Championships silver medal in Eugene in 2022. Will Fabrice move up a medal in Budapest?
Fabrice Zango, photo by Deji Ogeyingbo
Mary Moraa of Kenya is a tremendous talent over 400 meters and 800 meters. In Eugene last summer, Mary took bronze in the 800 meters. In June 2022, Mary won the African Championships 800 meters, and in Birmingham, England, Mary Moraa won the Commonwealth Games 800m gold with a racing tactic that, well, simply had to be seen to be believed. In fact, she leads, dropped to the very back, and then, in the second lap, does this unbelievable charge to the front, taking the gold. What will she do in Budapest? Well, Athing Mu and Keely Hodgkinson are not going anywhere, but Mary Moraa is not. This woman is dangerous! Lamencha Girma and Soufianne El Bakaali. Girma has WL at 3000m and WIR at 3000m. Soufianne El Bakaali has a 3:32 1,500m and has won World Champs and Olympic games. El Bakaali is a student of the sport and is the pride of Morocco. This event will be one of the truly competitive races of the World Champs, and both men should and could medal. Heck, both could be under the current WR and not win!
Soufianne El Bakkali en route to gold in the World Champs! World Athletics Championships Eugene, Oregon, USA July15-26, 2022 steeplechase, men, photo by Kevin Morris
Ferdinand Omanyala is Kenya’s and Africa’s sprint star. The man is learning how to win graciously, and he will be racing Olympic and World Championships in the next two weeks. Can he take the top of the podium? I do not know, but I believe he will be on the WC podium for the 100-meter Men!
Ferdinand Omanyala wins 100m in 9.84, to the delight of 60,000 fans, May 13, 2023, photo by Sila Kiplagat
To read all of our earlier stories in Witness the Wonder, numbers 1-34: