The kings and queens of speed
South Africa's Luke Davids and Nigeria's Rosemary Chukuma won the high-profile 100m men's and women's races, respectively, and were crowned the king and queen of speed at Buenos Aires 2018.
South African Luke Davids proved to be the fastest young runner in the world over the two stages of the 100m competition at Buenos Aires 2018. He crossed the finish line in 10.56 seconds in the first stage and in the second he lowered his time to 10.15. "The feeling of being the fastest young man in the world and being No.1 is amazing," Davids said. "I've been dreaming of this moment for months now. The spectators were incredible. The support they give you on the track, in the warm-up and at all times is sensational. People from Argentina seem as if they were from South Africa because of their kindness and, for that reason, I felt at home."
One thing that Davids does not feel at home with, however, is being compared to Usain Bolt, three-time Olympic champion in the 100m. "I am very different," Davids said. "He is not me and I am not him. We have different personalities. I try to focus on my goal and what I have to do. I do not think much about comparing myself to him."
Davids was flanked on the podium by Nigeria's Alaba Olukunle Akintola, who came second in the race, and Japan's Seiryo Ikeda, who was third.
While Nigeria took silver in the men's 100m race, its runner Rosemary Chukuma was able to better that result in the women's 100m. Chukuma finished third in the first stage of the race with a time of 12.03 seconds, but cut almost a second off her second try, crossing the finish line at 11.17 seconds and claiming the gold. Julien Alfred from Santa Lucia took silver, while Gabriela Anahi Suarez from Ecuador got bronze. "I am happy and satisfied because before coming to Argentina I did not have good results," Chukuma said. "I was scared that I would not get what I hoped for at these Games. I did not think that it was possible, but God sees to everything. I started to train in 2016 and I traveled to Australia last year to prepare in this discipline, then continued training in Nigeria."
The Ecuadorian Oscar Patin ended up winning the gold medal in the men's 5000m racewalk, after the disqualification of the Chinese Wang Xin. The silver medal went to India's Suraj Panwar and the bronze to Puerto Rico's Jan Moreu. "It was a very strong race, which demanded a lot of strategy because the sun was shining directly on the body and the pace was very fast, but fortunately, in the end my rivals could not stand the rhythm of the competition," said Patin.
Ethiopia's Tasew Yada won the men's 800m competition. He crossed the finish line ahead of Algeria's Mohamed Ali Gouaned and Turkey's Mehmet Celik. "I am very excited because it is the first time I won a gold medal in this distance," Yada said. "I worked for seven months in different climatic conditions and, as a result, I was able to crown myself. I am happy because my hard work was rewarded."