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Africa's showpiece to serve as Olympic Games qualifiers

ATHLETICS By Xinhua | May 11th 2020
IAAF Vice President and Confederation of African Athletics President Hamad Malboum and Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei present Athlete of the Year award to Vivian Cheruiyot in 2016. [Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

The rescheduled African Championships in Algiers will serve as the qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.

Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) President Hamad Malboum Kalkaba said yesterday that with the Olympic Games postponed by a year, the African Championships will serve as the best ground for the qualification process for the Tokyo Games. 

Kalkaba said Lome (Togo) and Algiers (Algeria) will retain the hosting rights for the Africa Cross Country Championships and the Africa Senior Athletics Championships, which were postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The CAA said it had already signed contractual agreements with the two host countries for Africa's premier track and cross-country competitions, even after the postponement of the two events to 2021. 

"Lome keeps the organisation of the African Cross Country Championship which will now take place in March 2021 while Algiers retains the organisation of the African Nations Championships that will serve as the qualifier for the Olympics, now that World Athletics has pushed the qualifying deadline for the Tokyo Games to June 29 next year," said Kalkaba.

Kalkaba, however, said it was not the CAA's responsibility to announce the precise dates for the African Championships, and will have to discuss the issue with Algerian authorities once the current control measures are eased.

However, the CAA noted that it remains a difficult time for African track athletes owing to the effects of the pandemic. 

"It is clear that we are at half-half, we have almost no activities and we must naturally comply with the arrangements that the governments of the various CAA member countries have taken to deal with this COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are no longer able to organise competitions at a global level or in Africa. This is a difficult time for African athletes," said the CAA president.  

Meanwhile, America's Shalane Flanagan has had a lot of different titles throughout the years. But the one she’s sought the longest is now her favorite: mom.

Flanagan, 38, and her husband, Steven Edwards, 40, welcomed their son, Jack Dean Edwards, on April 28, through adoption. It was a long-time coming, too. They started the process way back in the summer of 2016, around the time Flanagan, a 2008 silver medalist in the 10,000 meters, competed in the marathon at her fourth and final Olympic Games.

Jack is named in honour of Flanagan’s paternal grandfather, Jack Flanagan, who flew B-17 bombers in World War II and built the home in which her father, Steve Flanagan, grew up. And speaking of homes, Flanagan and Edwards also moved in recent weeks to a new house, close to her parents, just outside of Portland, Oregon.

On Wednesday during a phone interview with Women’s Running, Flanagan, the 2017 New York City Marathon champion and now a coach for the Bowerman Track Club, said she was getting about four hours of sleep at a stretch, but the fatigue has felt vaguely familiar—akin to what she experienced during many years of marathon training, she joked.

As she approaches her first Mother’s Day on Sunday, she took a little time to talk about Jack’s arrival and how she and Edwards are adjusting to parenting.

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