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Africans dominate Boston Marathon1 minute read

The 28-year-old Ethiopian, who set a national record while finishing second in Dubai less than three months ago, won in 2:23:31

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In the closest race in the event’s history, Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono held on to edge two-time Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia in a sprint finish, surging clear mere steps away from the finish line to win the 123rd Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 7 minutes 57 seconds.

Desisa, who won in 2015 and 2013, the year the race was marred by a bombing at the finish line, eased up after realizing he was beaten and finished 2 seconds back. Kenneth Kipkemoi was third, another 8 seconds behind, one of seven Kenyans in the top 10.

It was Cherono’s first victory in the Boston Marathon after winning races in Seville, Prague, Honolulu and twice in Amsterdam but never in a major marathon before.

In the women’s race, Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa broke away from defending champion Des Linden and the rest of the pack in the Framingham flats and ran alone for the last 20 miles to claim the $150,000 first prize and a gilded olive wreath from Marathon.

The 28-year-old Ethiopian, who set a national record while finishing second in Dubai less than three months ago, won in 2:23:31. Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat was second, reducing a gap of more than two minutes to 42 seconds at the finish.

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Weah forecasts grim future for African sports post-COVID-19

Liberian president and former African and World Footballer of The Year warns of struggle in sports post Covid-19

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Liberian president and former African and World Footballer of The Year George Weah has warned that the future of sports on the African continent after the coronavirus will be “bleak”.

Speaking at a recent special webinar organized by the Africa Sports Ventures Group, Weah said that the organizing of sports events or competitions behind closed doors or with minimal crowds will result in a major reduction in sponsorship revenues as companies reduce spending in the wake of coronavirus-inflicted losses.

In his opinion, this poses a huge threat not just to individual sporting clubs across the continent, but also to the league structures within which they exist.

“The lifeblood of sports consists mainly of attendance fees and sponsorships – where these no longer exist, many clubs will collapse and many leagues will close permanently,” said President Weah.

“It is my considered opinion that the future of sports in Africa after Covid-19 is bleak, and is not guaranteed to recover. There will be an urgent need to resuscitate football and other games.

“Health and recovery of our economies take absolute priority, however it is important that the global funding being raised should recognise the social importance of sport.”

However, head of sport at the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Gary Rathbone believes that social media can bring clubs much-needed income as they try and get back into playing again.

“There’s an opportunity for many leagues and many sports federations to start engaging with their consumers via the digital space,” said Rathbone.

“In many American sports, big international leagues, Formula One, consumers can subscribe directly to content without paying for a TV subscription, and there’s an opportunity here on the continent now if federations can start doing that.

“There are around 300 million people with smartphones across sub-Saharan Africa. If you look at big football clubs in Africa so many of them are not exploiting the digital space on social media. It’s a huge opportunity to monetise the content that they have with advertisers or subscription fees.

“If a club has a million fans and say a quarter of them subscribe for just 50 cents a month, that’s $125,000 a month – much greater than any broadcast TV revenue that they might have got,” he concluded.

The online event, in collaboration with UNESCO, featured presentations from experts, athletes, administrators, marketers and government officials aimed at dealing with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the suggestions included a stronger digital presence, new partnerships in social development, the inclusion of some of Africa’s traditional sports in the mainstream and staging more events on the continent.

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Southern Africa Sports

Zimbabwe FA rules out pay cut for national team coach

Zimbabwe FA say Zdravko Logarusic will not be asked to take a pay cut despite the crippling effect of the coronavirus pandemic

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Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) president Felton Kamambo has revealed that national team coach Zdravko Logarusic will not be asked to take a pay cut despite the crippling effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

ZIFA says they are still in a comfortable financial position to meet Logarusics’ monthly salary as per contract. Less than a month after he took over as the Warriors coach, football in the country went into lockdown.

Logarusic had earlier said he does not feel comfortable receiving his salary when he has not worked for it and wants international football to resume very soon.

Kamambo said the contract with expatriates should not be affected by footballs inactivity, but says it will be discussed when the board have their meeting.

The ZIFA president does not expect drastic decisions to be taken regarding Logarusic’s salary.

“We did our plan before hiring him so we will continue to pay our coach according to our contract. I am not expecting the board to make drastic charges on that.

“We are happy that for the first time the association is able to meet their financial obligations regarding the coach’s welfare. We don’t owe him any cent. We also don’t owe any of our staff members any money. ZIFA had gained notoriety for not paying coaches and at one time it even cost us a run in the World Cup qualifiers. But those are now things of the past. We have opened a new leaf as the association,” said Kamambo.

Kamambo also said ZIFA is trying to be transparent with its finances.

“We already have US$500 000 for the remaining six months. But we will not just spend because it was availed us a bit early. We will continue to operate the way we were doing so that by the time football returns we will be prepared to cater for all the national teams that have competitions that are currently on hold.

“We cannot have a situation where ZIFA are known as crybabies, seeking for resources at the eleventh hour every time. We have to (make a) budget and stick to that. So, the money we received will go to usual operations which include national teams travel, junior leagues as well as staff,” Kamambo said.

The ZIFA president said the COVID-19 relief package they requested from FIFA will be used to assist their affiliates.

“When the money comes, we will assist all our football affiliates. We will have a board meeting in two weeks’ time which will address all these issues related to the coronavirus and its effects on our game.”

ZIFA have provided $2 000 to each elite referee to help during these trying times, according to Kamambo, the funds were from savings in the organizations coffers in the first half of the year.

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East Africa Sports News

Kenya and Norway set for virtual athletics battle

All is set for a long-dsitance showdown between Kenya and Norway at the Impossible Games next month

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All is set for a long-dsitance showdown between Kenya and Norway at the Impossible Games taking place next month. The race will be held in the memory of the late Maurie Plant, who was one of the most significant figures in Australian and world athletics.

Plant died on January 19 this year at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne after being on life support for three weeks. He had suffered multiple strokes and kidney failure. The 66-year-old was a former agent, team manager and BBC broadcaster.

Team Cheruiyot will be led by middle-distance star and reigning 1500m Diamond League Champion Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya. He will be joined by 2017 world champion in the 1,500m and reigning African 1,500m champion Elijah Manang’oi as well as 800m specialist Edwin Meli.

Team Ingebrigsten is made up of three Norweigian brothers, Jakob, the European 1,500m and 5,000m champion and Henrik and Filip, who are currently training in Norway.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohammed disclosed that the virtual race that pits Kenya against Norway, will see the two teams battle it out in an innovative new format over 2000 metres at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi and the Bislett Stadium in Oslo, Norway respectively.

“The race will be staged simultaneously at the two cities with the two teams not getting to meet each other owing to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Amina while unveiling Team Cheruiyot at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Oslo Diamond League meeting director Steinar Hoen has described the race as “the first virtual race at such a level in the history of athletics”. Both teams will start with five runners and end with three, and the winner will be the team with the best overall time from their top three runners.

A Wanda Diamond League exhibition event, the Impossible Games was conceived by Bislett Games organizers to allow this year’s Oslo Diamond League meeting go ahead under Norway’s coronavirus regulations.

Instead of the usual, elite-level hunt for Diamond League points, the Impossible Games will instead showcase the innovative spirit of athletics with a series of set-piece exhibition events.

Beyond the 2000m battle, the programme is taking shape for the Games, which will take place at Bislett Stadium on June 11.

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