Sarah Moraa wins gold at African Championships but narrowly misses Olympic qualification

Sarah Moraa wins gold at African Championships but narrowly misses Olympic qualification

Abigael Wafula 12:17 - 24.06.2024

Mary Moraa's cousin, Sarah Moraa bagged Kenya's first gold medal but narrowly missed attaining the time for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with the deadline fast approaching.

Sarah Moraa, Mary Moraa’s cousin missed out on the Olympic qualification mark narrowly as she won the 800m gold at the African Championships in Douala, Cameroon.

Sarah’s main goal heading to Cameroon was to try hard to attain the Olympic qualification mark of 1:59:30 since she had already been named in the Olympic team and the uphill task was to attain the mark but her efforts hit a dead end.

The deadline for qualification is July 30, and Sarah only has six days if she has to make the cut to the team. In Cameroon, she clocked 2:00.27 to win the race ahead of national champion Lilian Odira who finished second in 2:00.36. Morocco's Soukaina Hajji claimed bronze, clocking 2:00.91.

Odira, who has already qualified for the Paris show, noted that her main aim was to help Sarah achieve the time.

“We tried to push for the Olympic qualifying mark for Moraa. but though we didn’t hit the target, a 1-2 finish for Kenya is a great achievement,” she added.

“I’ll spend a brief time with my family before heading to the Kenyan Olympic camp to prepare for the Paris Games.

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Kipng’etich Ngeno also flew Kenya’s flag high in the men’s two-lap race, leading from gun to tape, to win in 1:45.02 as Botswana's Kethobogile Hanguira and Uganda's Tom Dradriga finished second and third in respective times of 1:46.01.

Ngeno now shifts to the Diamond League Meetings after missing out on a ticket to the Paris Olympics following his fourth-place finish in the national trials.

“I’m pleased with this result. My next target is the Diamond League races because I did not make Team Kenya for the Olympics,” he said.

Elsewhere, Edmund Serem claimed a silver in the men’s men's 3,000m steeplechase as Boniface Mweresa narrowly missed the podium, finishing fourth in 45.62 in the 400m.

In the previous championships in 2022 in Mauritius, Kenya topped the medal table with 23 medals (10 gold, five silver, and eight bronze). Team Kenya will be hoping to maintain the top position having started on an impressive note with two bronze medals from Roncer Konga and Edwin Too who sealed the podium in the 5000m and Decathlon.