African Athletes Impress at IAAF Championships in London
At the 2017 World Championships of the Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), currently underway in London, quite a few African athletes have visited the podium to collect even more glorious hardware for their respective countries. As expected, runners from Kenya are dominating the long distance events, particularly the grueling 3,000-meter steeplechase. South Africa has been a pleasant surprise in the short distance heats, which athletes from Jamaica and other Caribbean nations are known to master.
The earliest IAAF gold medals were claimed by South African competitors; Olympic star Wayde van Niekerk had a fairly easy win in the 400 meters event, which put his country in the third spot of the medal table with two gold and two bronze awards. Kenya is enjoying a similar situation with three gold, one silver, and three bronze medals; the highlight being Conseslus Kipruto, whose steeplechase victory culminated with the traditional strategy of an explosive final sprint. This approach was also utilized by Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France to earn gold in the 800 meter event, which was one of the most electrifying finishes of the Championships.
Kenya is currently in the second position behind the United States on the medal table; both nations have three gold medals, but the U.S. has taken silver at the podium five times. Kenya has a chance to catch up to the Americans; yet, U.S. athletes are expected to be tough competitors in the field events. As expected, the IAAF Championships have unfolded under tight security measures due to the present threat of terror attacks in London. Thus far, there have not been any reports of compromised security. However, an unexpected norovirus outbreak has resulted in the quarantine of more than two dozen athletes.
At the iconic London Tower Hotel, 30 athletes were medically ordered to stay in quarantine conditions following the report of various gastroenteritis diagnoses. Several athletes have been moved to single rooms away from their ill teammates. Some Caribbean competitors have stated their desire to compete even with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, but medical officials fear that the contagion may spread. One sidelined athlete was Isaac Makwala of Botswana, a sprinter who was slated to compete against van Niekerk. The South African star stated that he would give his gold medal to Makwala if the rules allowed it. This medical situation has thus far prevented Botswana from making the IAAF medal table.