IAAF pledges to support African athletics

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Sebastian Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), says he is in Nigeria with his team to monitor the progress being made in African athletics and support the growth of the sport on the continent.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championship holding in Asaba, Coe said that athletics was a global sports that required efforts to stage any major competition, adding that the host had done enough in staging the championships.

“It is my duty to travel to any part of the world where any major athletics event is taking place and that is why I am here in Asaba.

“I am not here for any ceremonial reason, but I am here with my team to monitor what is on ground and also to assist the host in any area where they need to improve.

“Athletics is a global sport and we need to show the world how big and important our sport is; the state and federal government have put in a lot of efforts in staging this event and we appreciate them,” he said.

Speaking on some of the hitches experienced in the build up to the championship, the former President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and Chairman of the LOC, Solomon Ogba accepted the blame, but pleaded for understanding.

“Today, all the athletes are here and we have adjusted the programmes to accommodate all; no one will be shut out.

“Other cities like Lagos turned down the hosting, so I had to talk to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to bring the competition to Asaba in order not to deny Nigeria the hosting right,” he said.

Over 1,000 athletes are participating in the five-day event that would end on Aug. 5.