The President, Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA), Hamad Malboum said Nigeria was on the verge of losing the hosting rights of the 21st Africa Senior Athletics Championship but the situation was salvaged by the Governor of Delta state, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Malboum made the revelation when he spoke to journalists at the Media Centre of Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, venue of the championship.
The CAA President said that Lagos was given the hosting right two years ago but that the state did not finalise with CAA before it was given to Asaba.
“We appreciate the efforts of the organising committee, we gave the rights two years ago, the event was given to Lagos but Lagos didn’t finalise on time and we opted for Asaba.
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“I visited Asaba to inspect the stadium but what I met was not a palatable one but what we have today is a big transformation,” he said.
The CAA president apologised to the athletes for any hitch they might have experienced since they arrived in the country, saying he was relieved that the event finally started.
“We are a growing continent and things are not perfect in this part of the world, so we are sorry for any difficulties the athletes and foreign journalist must have gone through.
“For some technical reasons, a lot of things didn’t go well as planned but the Local Organising Committee (LOC) have assured the CAA that they will put everything right and they are working to salvage the situation,” he said.
Also speaking, Chairman of the LOC, Solomon Ogba said, “Other cities like Lagos turned down the hosting, so I had to talk to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa to bring the competition to Asaba in order not to deny Nigeria the hosting right.”
Dare Kuti reporting from Asaba