PHILADELPHIA, PA — Penn Relays 2015 came to a close on Saturday. African teams were represented at the meet held in the US city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with Nigeria and Botswana fielding teams in both the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

Though Jamaica and the USA proved to out sprint the African teams during the meet, the future looks very promising for African track and field athletes who are developing a strong contingent to vie for top honors in international competitions.

In the men’s 4×100, the USA team of Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Isiah Young, and Ryan Bailey edged out the Jamaican team of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Jason Livermore, and Asafa Powell for a slight win: 38.68 to 38.88. Though it is clear that team Jamaica was hardly at full throttle.

It is not by any means a stretch to say that if the international superstars Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake were present, the .2 second advantage favoring the USA would quickly evaporate. The World Championships in Beijing, China will prove to be an exciting matchup for these two teams when both come fully loaded.

Jamaica swept both the women’s 4×100 and 4×400.

The woman’s 4×100 was even closer with Jamaica (Kerron Stewart, Sherone Simpson, Schillonie Calvert, and Natasha Morrison) winning in 43.70.

The USA (Jessica Young, Candice McGrone, Marshevet Hooker, and Kaylin Whitney) followed in 43.79.

Team Nigeria (Gloria Asumnu, Regina George, Dominique Duncan, and Ngozi Onwumere) came in third in 44.22.

Like in the men’s 400-meter relay, some key names are also missing from the women’s slate, but perhaps some women will be moving away from the sport this season and giving way to younger athletes to make a name for their countries.

Nigeria’s close contention demonstrates how African women are emerging as real threats both in the individual and relay races.

In the world championships, we expect to see the Nigerian women as well as women from other African nations bursting onto the international scene and challenging more established track nations for international titles.

In the 4×400, team Jamaica ran 3:26.58 to team USA’s 3:28.42.

The Jamaican team consisted of Christine Day, Patricia Hall, Anastasia Leroy, and finished off with a stellar anchor leg by Stephenie-Ann McPherson.

The Nigerian and Botswanan women also fielded teams which finished 5th and 6th, respectively.

The Nigerians, Omolara Omotoso, Regina George, Rita Ossai, and Patience Okon-George, clocked in at 3:33.86.

Botswana’s team of Christine Botlogetswe, Buitseone Seleka, Loungo Matlhaku, and Lydia Jele came across the line in 3:40.94.

On the men’s side, the USA edged out the Bahamas, 3:00.86 to 3:01.63.

Nigeria and Botswana were also present for the men’s 4×400 relay and like the women finished in 5th and 6th place.

Nigeria’s team of LeJerald Betters, Robert Simmons, Miles Ukoama, and Orukpe Erayakon ran 3:03.84.

Botswana’s team of Leaname Maoroanong, Isaac Makwala, Pako Seribe, and Sakarea Kamberuka crossed the line in 3:05.37.

This is a great start for African teams. Hopefully the trend will follow them to outstanding performances in this year’s World Track and Field Championships in Beijing.

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Nefetiti is the Chief Editor at Grandmother Africa. She holds two Bachelor degrees, a double major in Chemistry and Physics. Since 1997, Nefetiti has authored several reports on Democracy and the state of Republics in the African Union. She became an African Reporting Fellow in 2007. Before joining the Definitive African Record, Nefetiti trained as a Digital Media expert. If you enjoyed this essay and would like to support more content like this one, please buy me a cup of coffee in support of my next essay, or you can go bold, very bold and delight me. Here's my CashApp: $AMARANEFETITI


  1. The day our mothers can stop discouraging us everytime we think to do something we are interested in like track and field… that will be the day we beat the USA and Jamaica to pulp.

  2. I look forward to the Accra Relays or the Lagos Relay. Why grace Penn with its under 1 percent African American population in a city of Philadelphia that boast a significant majority of Blacks? Why grace a school relay with African talent especially when it fails to integrate its city population?

    • Yes. Why Penn Relays? Where is the Abidjan Relay, where is the Kingston Relay? Where? We need to stop attending their gatherings. We have to stop. They are racists running around with their cops killing and murdering poor African American kids – Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and now Freddie Gray! Let us stop attending their gatherings.
      We want to see African Track and Field improve, but let us improve on our own.We don’t need Penn Relays, we never needed the!

      • Hopefully they don’t need us too. But if they need us, if they need us in order to continue to make $$$$$$$$$$$, then we have to prepare for trouble. They will come to Jamaica, to Africa, with their guns and canons to force us! They will come to destroy – that’s all they know how – destroy!

  3. Happy to see we are taking track and field a little more seriously. I hope are schools especially the private schools can start investing in it – for example, giving scholarships to athletes.

  4. African, East Africa especially, has always dominated the long distance. People of African descent have always dominated the short distance. West Africa has slacked, they have been lazy and poor at competing equally with African Americans and the Caribbean who are all of West African descent.West Africa needs to wake up and show they can also compete and win.

    • In west Africa, we play soccer, just like the Brazilians. I don’t recall the last time an Afro-Brazilian won the 100m. Maybe because we concentrate on the most interesting and most beloved sport in the world- soccer. Maybe that is why Brazil beats the USA, and all the Caribbean teams. Maybe that is why Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon continue to beat the Americans in soccer. We can be excellent at any sport we choose to play, but we can play all at once. We have to pick. It seems that West Africa has picked soccer! The greatest soccer player who ever lived, Pele, is of West African descent!

  5. This was great outing for African athletes! The exposure to other athletes around the world is key to their mental development as athletes. Great experience.

  6. Thanks for sharing this. I always wondered if African athletes were invited to the games. Any chance our beloved East African runners attended the meet?


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