A total of 42 African officials were present at the Delegates Registration Meeting (DRM) for CAA Asaba 2018 on Tuesday in Asaba. The officials got a glimpse of what to expect when the Championship starts in August.
The Championship will take place from August 1-5 at the newly-completed Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
Apart from the Olympic Games, Asaba 2018 is one of the few places they are having a DRM and the officials across the continent praised the Local Organising Committee, LOC headed by Chief Solomon Ogba for raising the bar with the great idea.
Speaking to journalists after the DRM, the Kenya Team Leader, Abraham Mutai reiterated that they are taking the Asaba 2018 championships very seriously as they are plotting to emerge as the overall champion in the five-day event.
“For your information, World Champion Julius Yego is coming with us to Asaba so you know we as a nation is taking this championship very serious. In South Africa two years ago, we were number two but this time we want the number one position and we hope our dream will comes true,” the Kenyan representative stated.
Mutai added that while Kenya would be looking to consolidate on their strengths which is in the long-distance races, they will be working towards conquering new grounds; especially in the field events and some short distant races including the 100m where he admitted that Nigeria remains a force to be reckoned with.
On his part, the scribe of the Ethiopia Athletics Federation, Bililign Mekoya, who is representing his country at the DRM in Asaba said he was very impressed with the superb facilities in place; adding that Ethiopia who are coming with the largest contingent would be gunning for as much medals as possible.
“We have seen the facility and it is new; so we are happy, we are targeting many medals as possible especially in the long distant races. We are bringing some new athletes and the experienced ones also, we are looking forward to a nice championship’ he posited.
Meanwhile, the Vice President of the Confederation of African Athletics, CAA, Gungaram Vivian and the other visiting officials from the continent’s athletics governing body have expressed deep satisfaction at what the Delta State government and the Local Organizing have put in place for the 21st African Senior Athletics Championships.
Gungaram during his second inspection of the Stephen Keshi Stadium on Monday said the facilities already on the ground in Asaba are not just good enough to host the CAA African championship but are also good to host the IAAF World Championships.
“What has been put in place here is not just good for the CAA standard, but good enough for the IAAF, you can organize a World Championships with this equipment,” he stated.
The leader of the CAA inspection team said he was very happy that so much has changed from the last time he came to inspect till now and he was unequivocal that Asaba would be ready to host the rest of Africa in no distant time.
“This is my second visit for inspection, and after going around the facilities, I can see there has been a lot of work done compared to the last time I visited, things have moved very fast, even some of the things not initially on the plans were cropping up like the warm-up track, which will be good for the athletes training.
“I am sure it will be ready latest by July 18 for the African tour which will be a dress rehearsal for the main championships in August.”
Over 52 African countries are expected at the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships.