Africa Games roar into life

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Sports Reporter

Over 7 000 athletes from across the continent converge in Morocco for the 12th edition of the 12-day long quadrennial Africa Games which start on August 19.

The Africa Games, which used to be called the All Africa Games, will see contestants battling it out in 23 sport codes.

And out of that, 18 events will be qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The biggest sporting jamboree on the continent is set to be a thriller as Africa’s greatest athletes have vowed to give their all at this competition.

This year’s instalment of the event, which was first staged in Congo Brazzaville in 1965, will see the hosts, Morocco, returning to the games after a four-decade absence.

Some of the top prospects to look out for in the Africa Games include the 2016 taekwondo Rio Olympics gold medallist Cheick Sallah Cisse of the Ivory Coast.

But, Southern Africa won’t be without celebrated athletes at the fiesta.

Botswana runners Isaac Makwala and Nijel Amos, who are the defending champions in the 400m and 800m races, have since vowed to retain their honours.

Amos’ stock has been on an upward trajectory since he powered to an Olympic silver medal in London 2012 Games.

South Africa’s men’s and women’s football teams, regulars at the games, are also expected to fly high the region’s flag.

The South African women’s team are in Group?? along with favourites Nigeria, Cameroon and another regional prospects Zambia who piped Zimbabwe to the plane.

Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Algeria and the hosts are in Group A, while the South African men’s side are in Group A along with Nigeria, Burkina Faso and the hosts.

The men’s Group B has defending champions Senegal, Ghana, Mali and Burundi.

Not only Botswana, Zambia and South Africa have sent representatives, but virtually the entire region has.

Zimbabwean cycling star Nkulumo Dube, who finished a close seventh in Brazzaville four years ago, has promised to make the region proud.

“Last time, I didn’t do as much as I expected but this time around, I am prepared to fight for my country, to fight for my region. I have left no stone unturned in terms of preparations. I have been working very hard and I am sure I am now well-conditioned for the ride.

“Of course, everyone is eying the ultimate prize and that makes everything tough for everyone. I respect every cyclist but I am ready,” he said.

The games will take place across different cities in Morocco, including Rabat, Casablanca, Temara, Sale, Mohammedia, Khemisset and Jadida.

   

 

 

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