1 August 2018

Nigeria: Asaba 2018 - African Athletes Set to Do Battle

Photo: Daily Nation
Members of the Kenyan team stranded at Murtala Mohammed International Airport on July 31, 2018.

It has been two days of chaos, but that will give way to a heated five days competition starting from today, as the events of the 21st African Championships begin at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State.

There isn't a single athlete that has not been stressed by the tedious journey to Asaba due to short comings in transportation. However, as yesterday evening all the participating countries have had their athletes warmed up for the big event, which for the first time in a long while is attracting African elite athletes. And perhaps putting prize monies at stake, and also being a world cup in athletics selection trials, made it certain the big stars will come. This is the first time prize money is being introduced.

Of course Nigerian athletes have not been left out in the expression of optimism to do battle against all the prevailing odds. Speaking after a light workout yesterday, Nigerian sprint duo Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and Divine Oduduru said they are prepared to give in their best, in a strong field of runners who have minced no words about their intention dominate.

"We can only give out what the body has to give. But if you ask me, Nigerian athletes are not well prepared to give the championships as individuals and a team.

"They put us in ramshackle hotels and we begin to wonder how long we must endure these things," Oduduru quipped.

Also high jumper Mike Edwards, who is making his debut for Nigeria, after an eligibility rule ousted him from the 2018 Commonwealth Games, stated that he was ready to give it a go.

"I'm looking forward to compete and hopeful with the hope of winning the title."

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