Daily Online Journal for Tunis 2005 - Sept 1, 2005

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Day 1 - Thursday September 1, 2005
by Dannette LEININGER, DITC Sports Director

The African Junior Athletics Championship have begun. There has been a flurry of activity prior to the Opening Ceremonies as happens prior to any championship. Many meetings and fires to be extinguished but the Tunisian Athletic Federation has done an outstanding job of setting the standard high for future championships. The DITC Team seems to be everywhere headed by DITC Co-Founder and CEO, Dr. Marc Daniel Gutekunst, WOA, DITC Board Member Amadou Dia Ba, DITC Ambassador Ahmed Enan, Director of DeKalb International Prep Classic, Murray Sanford and myself.

Entering the Olympic Park is very impressive with the number of first class venues for football, swimming and on the heels of successfully hosting the World Handball Championships in February 05, all surrounded by the Atlas Mountains. The venue of Radès Stadium is very good and the competitive spirit is high. There are expectations of good performances by many of the countries that have committed to long term programs with their youth and juniors in order to create strong senior athletes. Opening Ceremonies featured opening remarks by Tunisian Athletics President General Younès Chetali, AAC President Colonel Kalkaba and by the Minister of Sport Mr. Abdallah Kaabi and an appearance by the United States Ambassador William J. Hudson.

The weather is quite pleasant, high 80's during the day and 70's in the evening. The athletes and dignitaries from each participating countries are housed comfortably in hotels right next to the beach looking out into the Mediterranean Sea.

There are 18 countries, and 270 athletes entered the championship but seeing as many regional championships that have been cancelled this is a solid number. In my opinion, there is a general feeling that the African nations are searching for ways to increase their continental success. As cited by Africathlete, Africa's medal count was 23 at the 2004 Olympic Games and World Championships and many countries are looking to increase this number in the future by developing long term plans that include training and competition of youth and junior athletes the likes that we are seeing in Tunis today and for the days to come.

The first day of competition we witnessed solid performances on the women's side in discus, by Marli Knoetze one of South Africa's young stars, with a winning distance of 46.44m. Sudan dominated the middle distances of 400m and 800m by winning 3 of the 6 medals in the two events. The 3000m was a hard fought battle between the Kenyans and Ethiopians with the Kenyans striking gold and bronze. On the men's side there was long jump led by Tunisian phenom Mohamed Yassine Chaieb and 3000 steeplechase once again pitting long distance rivals Kenya and Ethiopia.

Day 1 Results (English)

Day 1 Photo Gallery for Tunis 2005 - Sept 1, 2005

Colonel Ahmed ENAN, DITC Ambassador and Amadou DIA DA, DITC Board Member

(Left to right) Sudan Ambassador to Tunisia HE Abdelwahab El Sawi Khalafalla, US Ambassador to Tunisia HE William J. HUDSON

Colonel Hamad KALKABA Malboum, President, African Athletics Confederation (AAC)

Opening speech of TUNIS 2005 by Hamad KALKABA Malboum


Ambassador William HUDSON, Mohamed ZRIBI, Director General, Tunisian Ministry of Youth & Sports, HE Adballah KAABI, Tunisian Minister of Youth & Sports looking at the DITC gift made to Minister KAABI

Mr. Abdessalem IBRAHIM, President, COCAJA handing to HE Minister Abdallah KAABI a Medal on behalf of the TUNIS 2005 organizing Committee

Murray SANFORD, Director, DeKalb International Prep Classic, Dr. GUTEKUNST, Ambassador William J. HUDSON

Ahmed ENAN, Murray SANFORD, Marc Daniel GUTEKUNST, Ambassador William HUDSON

Murray SANFORD, Marc Daniel GUTEKUNST, Younès CHETALI, Amadou DIA BA, Ahmed ENAN

Murray SANFORD, Marc Daniel GUTEKUNST, Younès CHETALI, Amadou DIA BA, Dannette LEININGER, Ahmed ENAN

TUNIS 2005 track

Ethiopian athletes in the stadium

TUNIS 2005 Official

Murray SANFORD and Assane COULIBALY (Senegal), AAC Technical Official

Award ceremony for discuss

David OKEYO congratulating the new African champion from South Africa

David OKEYO, AAC Council Member and Marc Daniel GUTEKUNST

Discuss medallists: (South Africa/Gold), (Tunisia/Silver), (Egypt/Silver)

The new African discuss champions!

Jean-Claude SORGE, Vice President, Racing Club de France, IAAF Consultant

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