EUGENE, Ore. – The Confederation of African Athletics has announced the African team for the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup to be held in Ostrava, Czech Republic on September 8-9.
Oregon Track Club Elite’s Nijel Amos, of Botswana, and Francine Niyonsaba, of Burundi, were chosen to represent Africa in the men’s and women’s 800 meters, respectively. Both athletes are ranked second in the world in the 800m this year. Amos set his season best of 1:42.14 in Monaco on July 20, while Niyonsaba clocked her season best of 1:55.86 in Paris on June 30.
The Continental Cup is held every four years and features teams representing Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe and the Americas. Each team is allowed two entrants per event. Previous Continental Cup winners included Europe in 2014 and the Americas in 2010.
Africa is expected to dominate both the men’s and women’s 800m. Amos joins forces with Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir, the world leader at 1:42.05, and Niyonsaba teams up with South Africa’s Caster Semenya, who hasn’t lost an 800m final since September of 2015. Semenya leads the world this year with her personal best of 1:54.25.
Despite nagging injuries, it has been a productive summer for both Amos and Niyonsaba.
Amos, the silver medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, turned in one of the best back-to-back 800m performances in history when he won the Diamond League race in Monaco at 1:42.14, followed two days later by a runner-up performance of 1:43.29 in London.
Niyonsaba, the two-time reigning World Indoor champion, has won two of her six Diamond League 800m races, bringing her career total of DL victories to 10, dating back to 2012. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist has run under 1:58.00 on five occasions during the 2018 outdoor season.