Kenya Scores Big In Beijing While South Africa Faces New Claims Of Rugby Racism
Kenya claimed its first overall title – topping Jamaica and the U.S. – at the just-ended World Championships in Athletics held in Beijing.
Kenya led the medal standing, picking up 7 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze.
Jamaica was in second place with 7 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze followed by the U.S. winning 6 of each. Russia, which captured 7 golds and 17 medals at the last World’s competition in Moscow, this time came in ninth with only two golds in a total of 4.
China, the event’s host, picked up only one gold, but seven silvers and a bronze.
Last but not least, the petite Mare Dibaba scored Ethiopia’s first gold medal in the women’s marathon event.
Usain Bolt, who bested the other runners with his outstanding time, went “viral” on YouTube after a cameraman on a Segway lost his balance and tipped into Bolt. They both went down but Bolt turned the fall into a backwards flip and came back no worse for the wear.
Sadly, two Kenyan were suspended after testing positive for doping. Thirteen Kenyan athletes are currently serving suspensions for doping offenses.
Elsewhere in sports, South Africa’s rugby team may be headed to court to answer charges that it still discriminates against black and mixed-race players – 21 years after the end of apartheid.
South African coach Heyneke Meyer claims he’s met the quota of 30% non-whites for the Rugby World Cup and the trade union Cosatu is backing him up, calling the team “the most representative ever selected.”
There are now 8 black or “coloured” players in the 31-man squad. The World Cup kicks off Sept. 18.
But the union cautioned: “We remain concerned about the white players who are in the team… The Boer mafia insists on putting their old crocks into the team, when there are clearly much better black and white players outside the team. We need objective measures to define the players for the national team, not the favorites of the coach.”
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula urged South Africans of all races to rally round the team. “We must don our green and gold jerseys from now and throughout the World Cup as a demonstration of a united country that acknowledges its divided past but continues to strive for a nonracial, democratic and united South Africa,” he said.
A fringe party, the Agency for New Agenda, is seeking a court order that would prevent the team from leaving for England on the grounds the government’s policy on transformation has not been met. The matter is scheduled for a hearing this week at the high court in Pretoria.