Women’s sprinting has entered a new era, declared African duo Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare after they won the continent’s first ever medals in a women’s world 200m final in Moscow on Friday.

Ahoure, 25, took her second silver of the World athletics championships, having become the first African woman to win a medal in the world 100m final, in a photo finish with Okagbare behind Jamaica’s 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Both of them may train in the United States and have American accents — Ahoure has lived in America since she was a child after arriving from the Ivory Coast via a brief stay in France — but they are Africans to the core.

“Tonight has seen a new era launched in women’s sprinting,” said a radiant Ahoure.

“I am so proud to be up here as an African. We are the perfect opponents as Blessing represents English speaking West Africa and I represent French speaking West Africa,” she giggled.

Role model

Ahoure, who said earlier in the week her fame is such in the Ivory Coast that she is known as ‘the female Drogba’ after the iconic footballer, has said she wants to act as a role model for budding African athletes.

She is unequivocal when asked whether Africa can produce the talent to go on and dominate the women’s sprints just as the Jamaicans have largely done over the past few years.

“Yes,” she said firmly.

However, she accepts that this comes with a large caveat.

“We need investment in infrastructure and training facilities,” she said. — AFP

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