BY BONNIE MUGABE | KT PRESS
African Cycling Giants Eritrea dominated Saturday’s junior and women road races to extend their medal triumphant at the ongoing 13th African Continental Road Championship.
The 13th Africa’s biggest annual cycling event got underway since Wednesday and will run through to February 18 in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.
On Saturday, riders were in contention for junior men and women and elite women and U-23 category honors with the day ending in favour of the Eritreans as they won a total seven medals.
It was an all-Eritrean podium finish in male category and gold in junior women’s fray as the Eritreans stretched the medal haul for Africa’s top cycling nation to 13 medals, of which 8 are gold pieces, 2 silver and, 4 bronze medals respectively.
Eritrean youngster Biniam Hailu clinched gold in junior men’s category in a two-man sprint finish with compatriot Thomas Yosief. Both used 01h56’43” seconds to cover the 84km distance.
Hager Mesfin, also from Eritrea, finished third to win bronze.
In junior women’s road race, 17-year old Desiet Kidane of Eritrea bagged a gold to make it two gold medals on her name after winning the Individual Time Trial (ITT) accolade on Thursday.
Ethiopia’s duo of Tsadkan Kasahun and Zayid Hailu finished second and third respectively.
The 2018 newly crowned champions Biniam Hailu replaces last year’s winner Hamza Mansouri of Algeria while Desiet Kidane dethroned Ethiopian Haftu Hailu Zayd who claimed last year’s title in junior women’s road race.
In the elite women and U-23 category which covered 84km, Eritrean Bisrat Ghebremeskel won the race in 02h46’31” followed by Ethiopian Beyene Tsega finished second with Eritrean Mosana Debesay bagging bronze medal in 02h46’38”.
In the women U-23 Road Race, Ethiopian Gebru Eyeru Tesfoam won the contest in 02h46’38”, followed by Eritrean Tigisti Gebrehiwet while Ethiopian Amha Selam bagged bronze in 02h46’46”.
After the third day of the African Continental Road Championship, Eritrea tops the medal standings with 17 medals including 9 Gold, 3 Silver, and 5 Bronze medals.
Ethiopia is ranked second with 13 medals (three gold, seven silver, and three bronze) while Rwanda is third with eight medals (two gold, four silver, and two bronze).
Burundi has one gold medal in fourth spot followed by Namibia who have one bronze and Algeria with one bronze.
So far only six nations; Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Algeria and Namibia out of 23 countries in competition, have managed to win at least one medal. Some of the usual suspects such as South Africa, Morocco, and Egypt are yet to win a single medal in Kigali.
The championship will conclude today (Sunday) with elite men’s road race.