In what appears to be the finals before the final, the women’s Elite Road Race took centre stage on day 5 of the ongoing Africa Road Championships.
The distance was 72km over 5 laps. 44 riders registered their interest in this very category and lo and behold, West African powerhouse, Nigeria swept the Gold medal in 2 hrs,36 in the person of Ese Ukpesiraye.
Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, La Cote D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia. Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and host nation, Ghana were on the log sheet.
Awa Bamogo of Burundi and Lucie Lagesse were a thorn in the flesh of the determined Nigerian who eventually maintained an incredible power, pace and precision to secure Gold. Burundi and Mauritius coming through with Silver and Bronze respectively.
The race was very tight. And by the third lap Rwanda, Namibia and Egypt had drawn first blood by breaking away in early fashion, closely monitored by the Algerians.
The bunch kept its business until the 4th lap where Ese tested the waters with yet another break away from the main bunch. But the approaching bunch kept working harder and in the final lap events changed.
The Algerians controlled the Frontline, Nesrine Yasmine and Yasmine El Meddah sliding past the tiring Burundi riders.
By the bend on the far end, the Algerians had taken full control and were predicted to win the race. But No!
An incredible sprint finish from the Nigerian few meters to the finish line relegated Bamogo Away of Burundi and Lucie Lagesse of Mauritius to second and third positions respectively.
In another development, Samuel Bernard Dupuy and Juliano Nogne Ndriamanampy secured the Gold and silver medals respectively in the Youth Boys Road Race in a time of 58,25 apiece.
Gawir Mohamed from Algeria squeezed through the third spot in 58,47 to win Bronze.
There was yet another litmus test for debutants Mohammed Farrakhan and Pious Mensah who registered in the 10th and 11th positions respectively.
The Youth Girls Road Race was equally interesting as the Green Eagles of Nigeria swept the Gold and silver medals in beauty. Peace Eunice Olawale and Grace Osaretin Godwin scored that brace in a sweating effort, making a unified time of 48,12.
The Men’s Elite Road Race will climax the main event in this year’s Championships and that would be the cynosure of all the categories on Monday 13th February 2023 at 8 am.
Source: ULTIMATE SPORTS GH
By: Clement Osei Aboagye