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Sierra Leone Sports: 2017 Boxing Day Sports wrap up

The 91st edition of the Traditional Boxing Day Sport event held at the Siaka Stevens Stadium on December 26, 2017, was considered the biggest athletics meet in the past three years.
Athletes from different camps in the Western Area, Northern region, Eastern region, Guinea and Liberia put up spectacular performances with keen contests in the sprints. There were no new national records set in any of the events but there was improvement on personal and seasonal best times.
With the hype for some of the competitors from the thousands of spectators at the stands in the three-day event, the athletes put out their best to attract the rousing fans that were eager to see new records.
Sprinters, Ishmael Dudu Kamara, Vivian Williams, Sahim Othman, Dolly Mustapha, Fatmata Koroma and Isfamaka Kargbo were the centre of attractions as everyone was looking forward to see who will be the next King or Queen of the 100 and 200 metres dash.
Heat day one and two of the meet (December 23rd & 24th) was very electrifying on the track and field qualifying events in which the top competitors easily cruised through to the final day as expected by their fans.
The finals started with top level performances on the track in the 400m hurdles with Freetown based Camp Unity Athletics Club, Alhaji M. Bangura winning the event with a time of 53.41 secs and Aruna Aaron Sesay of the Kings and Queens Athletics Club finished in second place with a time of 53.97 seconds.
The 400m hurdles silver medallist, Aruna Aaron Sesay clinched gold will follow his Silver Medal performance in the 400 hurdles with a win the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.66 secs. Alhaji M. Bangura of Camp Unity settled for the silver medal clocking 14.75 secs and Umar Alie of SPAC finished third with a time of 14.80 secs.
In the women’s 110m hurdles, multi-talented sprinter Fatmata Koroma of Northern region ran with ease as her main rival in the event Isfamaka Kargbo of YASC was red carded for false start.
Fatmata Koroma took the 110m hurdles gold with a time of 15.67 secs in the absence of Kargbo the defending champion, whiles King and Queens, Namisa Johnny clocked 16.78 secs in second position and her teammate Alice Kamara clocked 16.80 secs in third position.
In the Women’s 100m and 200m dash which were the eye catching events, Dolly Mustapha of Golden East beat the champion of the 2017 national championship Fatmata Koroma from Northern region recording a time of 11.28 seconds in the 100 meters and 23.29 seconds in the 200 meters.
Prior to the competition, the talk of the town was weather Olympian; Ishmael Dudu Kamara of Northern region would retain his title as the fastest in both the 100 and 200m sprint events.
Kamara, who was classed as the best athlete, ran to victory with pride as he won both races, clocking 10.13 secs to set a new personal best in the 100m and finished the 200m with a time of 21.29 secs ahead of Sahid Othman and Vivian Williams of King and Queens.
Camp Unity Athletics Club, Osman Charlie was the King of the track in the middle and long distance events (1500,5000 and 10,000 meters) as he took the gold medals in all three events.
Meanwhile, a new champion emerged in the women’s 5000m which a young lady from Northern region Jane S. Kargbo won against the champion Camp U.K’s Isatu Turay who earlier won 10,000m on day two.
The Men’s and Women’s 800 metre went to Ibrahim Turay with a time of 1:57.25 and Mariana K. Conteh of Camp Canada with a time of 2:11.32.
In the Women’s 400m, Camp Canada’s Ann Marie Labour clocked 55.86 secs, Hawanatu Fornah of Northern region returned a time of 56.81 secs and Fatima B. Sesay of Camp Canada settles for third position with a time of 57.50 secs.
It was a tough race in the Men’s 400m as uprising star, Alford Conteh from Northern region dominated the race. He won with a time of 47.59 secs, Ibrahim Kallon from the Camp Australia finished second with a time of 48.57 secs. followed by former champion, Bockarie Sesay of Golden East who recorded 51.38 secs.
The long jump Men’s final was won by Christian Gendemeh of Eastern Region jumping a distance of 6.46 meters, Abdul B. Bangura of Camp Unity in second position with 6.29 meters whiles Eastern region’s Augustine Samai finished third with 6.00 meters.
Spectators raised the momentum when group of male and female cyclists from the Sierra Leone Cycling Association pedalled through the track in search for the best cycling sprinter.
In the ladies section, the champion Isata Mondeh rode through the 12 laps clocking 9:11:00, Aminata Tarawallie finished second with a time of 10:12:65 and Rebecca M. Conteh returned a time of 10:29:53.
The Men’s division was tough as track King, Augustine Sesay pedalled away from the group to win the 25 lap race with a time of 16:12:00, Fallah Fayai clocked 16:40:37 and Teneson Dixon finished third with a time of 17:45:56.
In the penultimate event, a team of fast pace sprinters led by Vivian Williams won the 4×100 meters relay over the Northern Region and Camp Canada.
It is a well-organized event that saw intense contest amongst the competitors who were more focused on improving their personal and seasonal best instead of winning medals.
The successful outcome of the meet has sent positive signal of more development for the athletes and officials so that they will produce better result in the 2018 showdown.
By Magdalene S Konneh
Thursday January 11, 2018.

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