African females came to prominence much later than their male counterparts and they came from a wider spread of countries, not just those from the Eastern African highlands.
In the Olympic Games, El Moutawakel’s 400 metres hurdles win in 1984 provided the impetus for 15 gold medals culminating in the double gold medals won by Tirunesh Dibaba in Beijing in 2008.
Similarly, Boulmerka’s 1,500 metres victory in the 1991 IAAF World Championships sparked the impetus for the 30 gold medals in the period up to Edith Masai’s 10,000 metres gold medal in Berlin in 2009.
Over that period, African females also established six world records – from Leroupe’s marathon record in 1998 to Dibaba’s 5,000 metres ten years later in 2008.
Throughout the period, the prominent athletes have been Boulmerka, Mutola, Tulu, Leroupe, Ndereba, Dibaba and Defar.