The troubled African Athletics Championships at Asaba in the Nigeria Delta suffered further ignominy on Thursday, August 2 as Tanzania withdrew citing poor organisation and security concerns – but the second day of competition ended with some world-class performances on the track and infield.
Tanzania was expected to send five athletes to the biennual Championships, but officials said they were dissatisfied with the poor travelling plans to the event and concerned over the security threat from extremist groups in the region.
Chaotic preparations and numerous flight delays have overshadowed the sport so far, with athletes from numerous nations making their frustration and disappointment clear on social media.
More than 300 athletes from 20 countries were stranded for two days in Lagos, without flight connections to Asaba.
Competition belatedly began yesterday afternoon at the Stephen Keshi Stadium following the cancellation of the first scheduled session.
“The organisers of the African championship acted too late in sending the invitation letters, and they also failed to assure us that we would get visas on arrival in Nigeria,” Athletics Tanzania secretary Wilhelm Gidabuday said.
“We are also concerned about the safety since the Niger Delta region where the event is being held has been put on security alert due to danger of attacks by the Boko Haram extremist groups.”