African Athletics Championships: Flight challenges delay athletes arrival

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Some African athletes are worried that the flight delays being experienced due to the unavailability of local flight from Lagos to Asaba, venue of the Senior African Athletics Championships may hamper their performance at the competition.

Some African contingent to the championships who flew into Nigeria have spent at least a day in Lagos following the unavailability or limited flight to Asaba.

Knewman Knewman, a sprint athlete from Bostwana, said they came in ahead of the event on Friday, with the intention of having enough time to prepare but were denied the opportunity because of flight unavailability.

“We came in on Friday, but due to unavailability of flight we had to stay back in Lagos till Saturday and flew to Owerri, and later had about three hours flight delay before hitting Asaba.

“Definitely, it will affect our performance and that of any other athlete.

Knewman added that the Bostwana team had prepared well for the event, and called on the organisers to make better provisions for contingent in future events.

Algerian Abdelmalik Lahoulou, an African Games gold medalist in 400m hurdles, said despite the challenges, he personally intended to put in his best at the event.

“I am still expecting my luggage to come in but I have just trained this morning and I am hoping to put in my best.

“I want to clinch the gold medal and make my country proud,’’ Lahoulou said.

The athletes, however, lauded the facilities at the newly completed Stephen Keshi Stadium, venue of the meet.

The championships is a qualifier to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Continental Cup in Ostarva, Czech Republic in September.