The Eritrean national cycling team again won the African Championship tournament for the fourth year in a row by claiming gold in the team, individual and road race competitions at the 9th African Continental Cycling Championship that was conducted at the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.
In today’s closing 155 km Road Race (CC), Eritrean Tesfom Okbamariam stormed to the 2013 African Champion title by edging Namibian Dan Craven and his compatriot Merhawi Kudus after clocking 3:41:06.
Today’s impressive victory by this young talent was a result of his incredible fight and determination. He put the race to the test when he surged at an impressive speed with 35 kilometers left. His win sent the massive home crowd at the finish into frenzy.
Tesfom’s first international competition was at the U-23 category of the 2013 UCI Road World Championships in Italy at which he finished 73rd. Following that, he was called to participate at the 2013 Tropicale Amissa Bongo race and finish at a respectable 21st in the overall standings.
Like his country men Daneil Teklehaimanot and Natnael Berhane, today’s championship win will earn him a ticket to be a professional rider.
A day earlier, the Eritrean national team also defended its championship when defending champion Daniel Teklehaimanot claimed gold by winning the 42Km Individual Time Trial (ITT) for the fourth consecutive year clocking 54m:30s at a speed of 46.236 Km/hr.
At this edition of the African Championship, team Eritrea bagged a total of 4 Gold, 2 Silver and one Bronze medal.
There is no country on this continent that wins a Championship for four times let alone successively. Eritrea is exceptional.
Looking back at the previous four successive championship victories, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Meron Russom won the 2010 championship by finishing 1st and 2nd; Natnael Berhane and Tesfay Abraha won the 2011 championship by finishing 1st and 2nd; Natnael Berhane and Frekalsi Debesay won the 2012 championship finishing 1st and 3rd, and this year Tesfom Okbamariam and Merhawi Kudus concludes the championship by wining 1st and 3rd.
With such fashionable and passionate dominance of the championships, Eritrea proved once again that it is the undisputed champion of Africa and a cycling powerhouse.
National team coach Mussie Ashel equally deserves praise for his role in shaping the national team for such impressive achievements. A cursory look at his portfolio shows, indeed, he was instrumental for every successes of his team.
As recent as 2006, he helped the national team to win gold at the Anoka championship in Kenya; Gold at the 2007 All African Games in Algeria; Gold at the 2012 African Continental Championship in Burkina Faso and this year Gold at the 2013 African Continental Championship in Egypt.
As once President Afwerki said “We are number one in Africa”.
|1||OKUBAMARIAM Issak Tesfom [ERI]||100||100||3:41:06|
|3||KUDUS Merhawi [ERI]||40||40||,,|
|4||BEN YOUCEF Abdellah||30||30||1:00|
|6||BEN NASR Hassen||20||20||1:43|
|8||RUSSOM ALEM Meron [ERI]||10||10||,,|
|9||NIKIEMA Abdoul Aziz||9||9||,,|
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