Fredericks and Onyali to retire

Fredericks announces retirement – African Games – Day FIVE
Thursday 16 October 2003
Abuja, Nigeria – On the final day of track competition in the national stadium yesterday (15 October) the All-Africa Games threw up two retirement announcements and another Games record.

The highlight of the day was the men’s 200m. Despite the fact that Nigeria’s Emedolu Uchenna was in the field and had a fair chance of winning the home crowd were solidly behind Namibian Frank Fredericks, who at 36 years of age has been the standard bearer of African sprinting for over a decade.
As the local athlete normally gets an extra buzz from the crowd support, it must have been a unique situation that Emedolu found himself in but the 2002 World Cup 100m winner carried the burden magnificently and hung on to the gold with a 20.42 clocking. This performance was enough to head Fredericks (20.43), with Ghana’s Aziz Zakairi taking the bronze somewhat adrift in 20.51.

Fredericks’ Retirement

“This is my last international competition. I am happy to go with the silver,” confirmed Fredericks soon after. "It is not a bad way to end a career. Uchenna can take over from here. He is good. He ran a good race.
“I wanted to bow out with gold at the African Games but I reckon I had to run fast at the age of 36 to achieve it.”
“I will now go round Africa to share my experience with the young ones on how to improve,” confirmed Fredericks who wishes to coach.

Fredericks’ manager Jukka Harkonen confirmed that the athlete had first mentioned the possibility of retirement to him after the recent Yokohama meeting in Japan, and so he was not unduly surprised about Fredericks decision.

One of the all-time greats of sprinting

A multiple World and Olympic medallist, Fredericks has graced so many international finals at both 100m and 200m over the last decade and more. The World Championships title at 200m in Stuttgart in 1993 will stand as his greatest achievement but having both the fortune or misfortune of running in the era of the great Michael Johnson, he perhaps will never get the recognition he deserves. In particular, his 100m and 200m silver medal doubles at both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics or his three World Championship 200m silver medals - 1991, 95, 97 - stand as testimony to one of the greatest ever sprinting careers.
Adding to his haul of top honours, Fredericks was also African Champion at 200m on two occasions including a sprint double in 2002, and took another sprint sweep at the African Games of 1991. A World Indoor champion in 1999 and a World Cup winner on two occasions, Fredericks took the last of two Commonwealth crowns only last summer in Manchester. Along with his African Championships win last summer these two victories bore witness to his continuing international competitiveness. He bowed out on the World championships scene with a very creditable seventh place in the 200m final in the Stade de France on 29 August.

Onyali retires too

Mary Onyali completed a sprint double yesterday when winning the women’s 200m in 23.09 ahead of Ghana’s Vida Anim (23.17) and South Africa’s Estie Wittstock (23.46).
The 35 year-old Onyali from Gonmgola, Nigeria, was the 1996 Olympic 200m bronze medallist and can claim five African Championships titles at 100m (3) and 200m (2), and including her performances in Abuja six African Games gold medals too at 100m (3) and 200m (3). Onyali was also Commonwealth Games 100m champion in 1994.

Olukayode Thomas for the IAAF

Yeah, goddamn, I can’t believe he’s finally retiring. I thought he’d run forever. Isn’t it possible to run forever? :frowning: