Algeria's Larbi Bourrada in the decathlon shot put (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Marrakech, Morocco

Bourrada and Koala win combined events at African Championships

Having led from the outset and after posting the top marks in eight of the 10 events, Algeria’s Larbi Bourrada was a comfortable winner of the men’s decathlon at the African Championships in Marrakech.

Meanwhile, Burundi’s Marthe Koala set a national record to win the heptathlon. The combined events at the African Championships formed part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge.

Bourrada had a huge overnight lead with 4217 points, having posted the best marks of the day in the 100m (10.90), long jump (7.45m), high jump (2.04m) and 400m (48.33).

Ghana's Atsu Nyamadi was in second after the first day with 3871, which was 23 points better than his first-day score when he set the national record earlier this year. African record-holder Willem Coertzen withdrew before the 400m, having been in the silver medal position.

Despite his huge lead, Bourrada didn’t rest on his laurels and the 26-year-old extended his winning margin on the second day.

He began with a personal best of 14.33 to win the 110m hurdles, then followed it with a 39.99m throw in the discus before clearing 4.90m in the pole vault. A 64.60m effort in the javelin brought his total to 7500 with one event remaining – a score that no one else in the field exceeded after all 10 events.

With a national record in his sights, Bourrada pushed hard in the 1500m and clocked 4:20.05, bringing his score to 8311, breaking his own national record and championship record.

A no-height in the pole vault proved costly for Nyamadi, but he managed to finish among the medals, taking bronze behind Guillaume Thierry of Mauritius, 7312 to 6946.

Algeria looked set to score a combined events double as defending champion Yasmina Omrani had a significant overnight lead in the heptathlon, but her hopes of a second successive title came crashing down after picking up an injury in warm-up for the long jump, forcing her to withdraw.

Burundi’s Marthe Koala, having set a season’s best of 6.03m in the long jump, then took up the lead. She rounded out the competition with PBs in the javelin (37.41m) and 800m (2:31.61) to take the overall title with a national record of 5454.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF