The authorities in Ivory Coast are confident of organising a successful U18 and U20 Athletics Championships after the nation’s capital Abidjan was selected by the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) to host the events.
Scheduled to hold from April 16 to 20, the city’s main Felix Houphouet Boigny stadium, where most of the competitions will take place, is fully set, according to Kouamé Jeannot, president of the Ivorian athletics federation.
“I can confirm to you that all is set for the events. The main stadium had no major defaults. We only did some face lifting. Everything is ok,” he told ACLsports on Monday.
“Training pitches will be at the Robert Champroux stadium and at the INJS complex while athletes will stay at the plush INJS hotel, which housed athletes from around the world during the Francophonie Games in 2017,” he said.
The U18 and U20 Athletics Championships are meant to help spur the growth of other sporting disciplines on a continent dominated by football, according to the president of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Hamad Kalbaba Malboum, who was on a two-day visit to Abidjan recently.
“We are asking Federations to look for hidden talents in rural areas and schools. It is in these places that are true champions of tomorrow,” Malboum had said.
“All young people must be given the opportunity to put their skills to the test. I am sure we will find new Murielle Ahoure, [Marie-Josee] Ta Lou and Ben Meité Youssef.”
Participants from more than 25 countries, including hosts Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa, will take part in the events, according to the local organising committee.
More than a dozen disciplines will be showcased, including middle- and long-distance races, sprints and field events.
Ahead of the championship, the Confederation of African Athletics will hold its general assembly in Abidjan, where new officials will be elected.