The African Senior Athletics Championships tagged: 'CAA Asaba 2018' got a boost at the weekend, as millions of fund were raised at a dinner organised by the Delta State government in Asaba.
Consultant for the occasion, Bukola Olopade stated that the response of Deltans and friends of Delta was very good,"I can't give you the exact figure now, more donations and pledges are still coming but we highly impressed by peoples' response," he said.
Zenith Bank Plc led the donors at the event with the sum of N300 million, while Bube Dan gave N20 million, Levant Construction N20 million, Gomene N11 million, Delta State House of Assembly N7 million, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development N5 million, among others.
An elated Governor Okowa said: "In less than three weeks from today, athletes from 47 African countries, as well as officials, will begin to converge in Asaba for this historic event."It is historic in the sense that though this is the second time Nigeria will be hosting this event, this is the first to be held outside Lagos."
He revealed that he agreed to host the championships because it provides a "glorious opportunity to further our agenda to regain Delta's frontline status in sports by hosting this event."
"Apart from being a dominant force in the National Sports Festival in years gone by, Delta has produced foremost international athletes such as Tony Urhobo, Maria Usifor, Violet Odogwu-Nwajei, Sunday Uti, Blessing Okagbare and many others.
"In recent times, it does seem like athletics is taking a backseat, hence, our young ones do not see much hope in pursuing a career in athletics. We believe that this event has the strong potentials to reawaken the interest and consciousness of the upcoming generation and motivate them to strive for greatness in athletics," the governor said.
In his speech, the Minister for Sports, Solomon Dalung, described Governor Okowa as a performer who saved Nigeria the shame of failing to host the tournament.At the occasion were dignitaries that include the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Ibrahim Gusau, among corporate bodies and individuals, who made anonymous donations.