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U of O runners take home three gold medals at Francophone Games

ATHLETES FROM THE University of Ottawa took home three gold medals from the seventh annual Francophone Games in September.

The event took place Sept. 6–15 in Nice, France and hosted a couple hundred Franco-athletes and artists.

Canada won a grand total of 44 medals this year, placing second behind France in the medal count. Fifteen of the medals won by Canada were gold, three of which were won by U of O athletes.

Former Gee-Gees track runner Oluwasegun Makinde took home two gold medals from this year’s games.

Makinde helped his team take first place in the men’s 4×100-metre relay, securing the gold medal for Canada with a time of 37 seconds 92 milliseconds.

Makinde followed this performance with a 200-metre sprint the following day. He took third place in the qualifying bout with a time of 20 seconds 90 milliseconds. Makinde posted the best time of the day with more than half-second lead on the second-place runner.

Makinde won gold again in the 200-metre final with a time of 20 seconds 80 milliseconds, again with an almost half-second lead on second-place runner Idrissa Adam from Cameroon.

Sekou Kaba, U of O’s other gold medallist, placed first in the 110-metre hurdles Sept. 11. Kaba set a personal best for the season with a time of 13 seconds 84 milliseconds.

“Gold feels great,” he said. “I am very happy to have something to show for all the hard work I have put into this sport, let alone this year.”

Kaba managed to beat out France’s Ladji Doucouré—a previous 2005 world champion and Olympic finalist—by nine hundredths of a second.  The win marked the end of a year during which Kaba struggled with injuries earlier on.

“I felt like a million bucks at the start line,” he said. “Nothing was sore, no race jitters, simply had my eye on the task at hand.”

There were three Canadian teams at this year’s Francophone Games: Team Canada, Team Canada-Quebec, and Team Canada-New Brunswick. Gee-Gee’s second-year guard Catherine Traer was the only non-Quebec student to be drafted to the Canada-Quebec women’s basketball team.

Canada also scored gold medals in the 120 kg men’s wrestling, 63 kg women’s wrestling, story telling, news reading, 60 kg men’s judo, 70 kg women’s judo, as well as various Para-athletic events.