The Gambia is among 51 countries that are currently taking part at the 18th African Senior Athletics Championships which began this week at the Charles de Gaulle Stadium in Porto Novo, capital of Benin.
The current chairman of the African Union (AU), Benin's president Boni Yayi, the president of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang, and the president of The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), Hamad Kalkaba Malboum were present at the opening ceremony. More than 800 athletes from 51 African nations are confirmed to take part in this continental athletics event, which represents a record of participation of the African Senior Athletics championships.
Four African athletics powers - South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Kenya, sent their teams made up of 77, 54, 44 and 40 athletes respectively, while the host nation Benin is represented by 22 athletes. The Gambia is represented by 10 athletes and together with three other officials; the team's trip has been sponsored by the Gambia National Olympic Committee.
One month from the London 2012 Summer Olympics scheduled from July 27, 2012, this may be the last opportunity for African athletes eyeing Olympic qualification to strive for the best. Twenty-two track and field events are scheduled for this six-day event, in which 148 medals will be awarded.
The African Senior Athletics Championships is a continental athletics event organised by the CAA every two years. The last edition was held in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, where the host nation won the overall title with 25 medals - 10 gold, seven silver and eight bronze.