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  Monday, 13 August, 2001, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Africa on top of the world
By BBC Sport Online's Mike Burnett

The World Athletics Championships in Edmonton has received its fair share of criticism, but for African competitors the competition could not have gone any better.

The continent recorded its best-ever performance in the sporting spectacle, amassing an impressive 24 medals, two more than Seville in 1999.

Kenya led the way with three golds, three silver and one bronze to finish third in the table behind the United States and Russia while Ethiopia were in sixth after pocketing two gold, two silver and four bronzes.

Even South Africa got in on the act on the final day, claiming gold in the women's high jump and a shock silver in the men's 4x100m relay.

  African gold medals
MEN'S EVENTS
1500m - Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco
5000m -Richard Limo from Kenya
10,000m - Charles Kamathi from Kenya
Marathon - Gezahegne Abera from Ethiopia
3000m Steeplechase - Rueben Kosgei from Kenya
WOMEN'S EVENTS
400m - Amy Mbacke Thiam from Senegal
800m - Maria Mutola from Mozambique
10,000m - Derartu Tulu from Ethiopia
400m Hurdles - Nezha Bidouane from Morocco
High jump - Hestrie Cloete from South Africa
Hestrie Cloete managed to beat defending champion Inga Babakova for the High jump title in a tight contest which saw both athletes clear two metres.

For high jumper Hestrie Cloete, her medal was her country's first at Edmonton and Africa's only gold in a field event.

And it was followed minutes later by success in the sprint relay as the South African quartet produced an upset by beating Ato Boldon's Trinidad and Tobago team for silver.

The bulk of African medals came from the long distance events, climaxing in a third world title for Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj in the 1500m.

Earlier in the tournament, the continent swept the board in the men's 5000m and both 10,000m races.

Richard Limo of Kenya used his kick to take gold in the 5000m, followed home by Ali Saidi-Sief of Algeria and Ethiopia's Wolde Million.

Haile Gebrselaisse saw his eight-year winning streak come to an end in the 10,000m, losing to Kenya's Charles Kamathi, but the Ethiopian running legend still managed a bronze.

In the women's event, British star Paula Radcliffe left another major tournament empty-handed as Ethiopia, led by Derartu Tulu, took all the medals.

There were successes in the shorter distances, too, as African women grabbed gold in the 400m and 800m.

The South African 4x100m relay team
South Africa's relay team cannot believe their success
Olympic champion Maria Mutola notched up Mozambique's only win of the championships, charging past Stephanie Graf of Austria in the final metres of the 800m.

Senegal's Amy Mbacke Thiam won another thrilling battle, this time in the women's 400m final, to claim her country's only gold.

With 10 gold medals in 10 days of competition, spread evenly between the sexes, African athletes had plenty to celebrate.

In contrast, Great Britain was beginning the dreaded post-mortem following its dismal showing.

So was Canada, who became the first host nation to finish without a medal.

France will be aiming to avoid a similar fate when the championships head for Paris in 2003.

World Athletics Championship site

Statistics section

In-depth coverage

Our man in Edmonton

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Internet links

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