Ethiopian sprinter Almaz Ayana has made Africa proud by setting a new World record in the women’s 10,000 meter race at the Rio Olympics.
The long-distance runner clocked a winning time of 29 minutes and 17.45 seconds. By her victory Almaz broke a 23-year long time record by a margin of 14.46 seconds.
The previous world record was set by Chinese runner, Wang Junxia, in 1993 in a time record of 29:31.78 .
Even 42-year old co-runner admitted to the gravity of Ayana’s remarkable Rio victory. She confesses she was utterly intimidated by Ayana.
“When I heard the times I just couldn’t believe it. It’s so much faster than you could ever imagine anyone could run… It was almost confusing.”
“You don’t think that Chinese record will ever go… It was absolutely unbelievable.”- Jo Pavey
Almaz Ayana is the first African athlete to win a gold medal at the Rio Olympic games. In 2014 she won the 5000 meter race at the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup.
The 24-year old gold medalist won her first senior title over 5000 metres at the 2014 African Championships in Marrakech. She beat another Ethiopian long-distance runner, Genzebe Dibaba, in a championship record time of 15:32.72.
Taking the second position in the Rio Olympic race was Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot in 29:32.53. The 3rd position went to yet another Ethiopian sprinter, Tirunesh Dibaba in 29:42.56.
Almaz Ayana’s resounding success has downplayed the oddities that has surrounded African athletes at the Olympics. Sadly, 2 Kenyan coaches were sent home from the Rio Olympics over allegations of doping.
Almost half of the Nigerian team were sent home over age falsification.
Adding to the box of shame was the Jonas Junias’ episode. The Namibian boxer has been charged with attempted sexual assault at the Olympics.
Almaz Ayana is indeed a victory to wipe away the mud on Africa’s face at the moment. On the issue of doping, the world champ and record breaker had this to say:
“I train specifically for the 10,000 meters. And the Lord is giving me everything. My doping is Jesus. Otherwise I am crystal clear.”