Admitting he was relieved to pick up a medal after a challenging year both on and off the track, hurdles specialist Antonio Alkana secured an emotional victory on Saturday, shining for the national team on day four of the African Athletics Championships.
Alkana coasted over the bumpy track at Stephen Keshi Stadium, winning the men’s 110m hurdles final in 13.51 seconds.
The national record holder admitted he was frustrated by a delayed start, with the athletes being held in the waiting area for nearly an hour before the gun was fired, but he was pleased to have successfully defended the continental title he won in Durban two years ago.
“It was a tough season. It started with injury and then we had a death in the family. My mother passed away in January and she was my biggest supporter,” Alkana said.
“I’m just glad to have done what I came here to do, and to be running injury free again.”
The national team picked up three more silver medals via Khotso Mokoena in the men’s triple jump (16.83m), Valco van Wyk in the men’s pole vault (5.10m) and Jo-Ane van Dyk in the women’s javelin throw (53.72m).
After four days of competition, the SA team remained top of the table with a total of 21 medals, including six gold.