Deji Ogeyingbo loves to write about track and field. His fun pieces are his top ten athletes of the year in various parts of the world! This is numbers 5-1 on his Top 10 Female African Athletes in 2023!
Top 10 Female African Athletes in 2023 (5-1)
Last time, we commenced our countdown for the top female African athletes in 2023, delving into their remarkable achievements and the profound impact they’ve had on the world of athletics. Now, let’s continue the countdown, presenting our list from 5 to 1 of the most outstanding female African athletes in 2023.
5. Mary Moora
Taking the number five spot on our countdown is Mary Moora. The Kenyan is an example of how resilience and hard work on your way to the top are ultimately important. The Kissi Express as she’s fondly called won all but one of her 800m races in 2023, showing how consistently her season as it cumulated in her winning her very first world title.
Mary Moraa takes the 800 meters, in Rabat, photo by Diamond League AG
Moora entered the 2023 season with so much confidence and gusto coming from becoming the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Diamond League, but she was still yet to win hearts. Most of the fan’s favorites in the two-lap event were Athing Mu and Keely Hodgkinson. And as expected, they had warmed hearts with their performances at the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 World Championships.
Still, it didn’t fluster Moora as she started her season running the 400m at the Botswana Grand Prix in April, before delighting her home crowd with a win in her signature event at the Kip Kieno Classic on May 13th. Subsequent wins in the Diamond League followed in Rabat, Lausanne, and Silesia, but Moora was fixed on making a statement at the World Championships in Budapest.
After going through the rounds with ease, the Moora danced with joy as she celebrated a memorable women’s 800m win in the central European City. The 23-year-old turned the podium from last year’s Worlds in Oregon on its head, with her bronze medal replaced by a shining Gold as she ran a Personal Best of 1:56.03 to beat off the challenge of defending champion Mu who came third in 1:56.61 with Hodgkinson taking the Silver.
As she passed the finish line, Moraa leapt into the air punching her fist to celebrate her second major international gold in a year after her victory at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Although she looked spent, the Kenyan ended her season win a fourth-place finish at the Diamond League final in Oregon.
4. Marie Jose Ta Lou
If disappointment in this year’s athletics season were to have a name, one would struggle to look past writing Marie Josee Ta Lou on paper. The Ivorian did everything within her might to become the world champion this year, but it just didn’t happen. Those fleeting moments always count and, in a race, as important as the women’s 100m final at the World Championships, the Ivorian fluffed her lines when it mattered the most.
Marie-Josée Ta Lou Wins the Women’s 100m with a time of 10.97 at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Rome/Florence, Italy on 2 June 2023, photo by Matthew Quine for Diamond League AG
Ta Lou had played second-fiddle to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson- Herah and Sha’Carri Richardson in the last year, but things began to fall in place for her this year as she started her season on the right foot, clocking 10.78s in the United States.
The Ivorian followed it up with wins in all her 100m races in June and perhaps the biggest indicator of how ready she was ahead of the world championships was how she got the better of Shericka Jackson at the London Diamond League. It was against that backdrop that Ta Lou went to Budapest high on confidence.
However, as faith would have it, she came unstuck in her quest to win her very first world title as she could only manage a fourth-place finish in the women’s 100m final. In the 200m, which was her least fancied event, Ta Lou placed eighth. Regardless, she still wore her heart on her sleeve.
Ta Lou ended her season on a high note as she placed second in the Diamond League final in Oregon.
3. Gudaf Tsegay
Last year was a masterpiece for Gudaf Tsegay, but this year the Ethiopian took her running prowess to another level as she took ingenuity to another level, taking down races from the mile to breaking the 5000m world record that had initially been set by Kenya’s enigmatic Faith Kipyegon.
Tsegay’s extraordinary season kicked off indoors as she braced herself up for the task ahead, competing in the mile in Poland and France. However, it wasn’t until the outdoor season in which she won the women’s 1500m at the Diamond League in Rabat that she made people take note of her. But all of these were a build-up to the World Championships in August in which she did the 5000m/10,000m double.
Gudaf Tsegay celebrates her 5000m WR of 14:00.21! photo by Brian Eder for RunBlogRun
In Budapest, Tsegay gave us one of the races of the championships. It was a head-to-head battle that many may have predicted, but the closing drama came as a shock. Tsegay up against Dutch running sensation Sifan Hassan – shoulder to shoulder with their arms pumping and their eyes fixed on the finish – chased the 10,000m Gold on the home straight.
However, with Just meters from the finish line, after both had used their 1500m speed to superb effect over the final lap, Hassan fell, giving Tsegay her first world title. Although the Ethiopian couldn’t make it two as she fell off the pack in the 5000m final, she more than made up for it as she won the 5000m Diamond League title in Oregon and broke the world record, clocking a remarkable 14:00.21.
2. Tigst Assefa
One race, and one astonishing win! Tigst Assefa took marathon running to the next level in Berlin and the world could only watch in astonishment. How dare she? Was it the Super shoe or the training regime that aided her to run a mindboggling 2:11:53?
Tigst Assefa needed just 18 months to go from marathon debutant to smashing the world record by more than two minutes. The Ethiopian’s astonishing Berlin race – winning in two- intensified attention on “super shoes” after she ran in a pair using “unique technology”.
Tigist Assefa breaks WR in 2:11.52 in the 2023 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by Kevin Morris
While the 2022 Berlin Marathon winner had been among the favorites, nobody expected a performance like that. In fact, nobody even thought a time like that was possible for a woman.
It was just 18 months ago that Assefa competed in a marathon for the first time – the Riyadh Marathon – finishing with a time of 2:34.01 hours. Her second was the 2022 Berlin Marathon six months later, which she completed in a time of just 2:15:37 hours – an improvement of 19 minutes. All of these happened before she took it down to within the threshold of 2:10.
It was a piece of brilliance many applauded the Ethiopian duly takes our number two spot on the countdown.
1. Faith Kipyegon
What more can we say about Faith Kipyegon? The Kenyan took middle-distance running to a different realm this year by extending her dominance beyond the 1500m as she broke the one-mile world record as well as the 5000m, which was later taken down by Tsegay.
But that was probably the only dent to what has been a flawless season for Kipyegon. The multiple world champion set a women’s 1500m world record, clocking 3:49.11 at the third Diamond League meeting of the season in Florence in June. The Kenyan athlete, winner of the last two Olympic 1500m Golds, bettered the previous mark of 3:50.07 set by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 2015.
Kipyegon followed it up with another fine performance in France as she made the crowd applaud in astonishment. The Kenyan was up against Letesenbet Gidey and Ejgayehu Taye – the former held the world record heading into Paris. But the two Ethiopians were blitzed by Kipyegon, who lowered the previous record of 14:06.62, which Gidey set in October 2020. Tsegay eventually took down the record three months later.
Her record-breaking streak continued with a stunning performance at the Monaco Diamond League meeting in July as the Kenyan runner shattered the women’s world record in the mile, winning in 4:07.64 at Stade Louis II and beating Sifan Hassan’s 2019 record by almost five seconds.
With her confidence at peak level, Kipyegon took that form to Budapest and won two titles in the 1500m and 5000m while winning the Diamond League final in Oregon over the 1500m. The Kenyan ended her year at the World Athletics road running Championships in Riga, in which she took third.
This list reflects the incredible talent and accomplishments of these remarkable female athletes, showcasing their prowess and dedication to the world of athletics. As we celebrate their achievements, we look forward to witnessing their continued success in the coming years.