Tanzania Withdraws Competitors From African Athletics Championships

Nigeria's Joy Udo-Gabriel qualified for the 100m event at the Asaba Athletics Champs

Tanzanian athletes pulled out of the biennual African Athletics Championships in Nigeria on Thursday citing poor organisation and security concerns at the venue.

Tanzania was expected to send five athletes to the championships in Asaba but officials said they were dissatisfied with the travel arrangements to the event as well as the threat from extremist groups in the region.

The prelude to the games has been marred by scenes of athletes stranded at Lagos airport who have been unable to take connecting flights to Asaba.

Wilhelm Gidabuday, secretary of Athletics Tanzania, said: "The organisers of the African championship acted too late in sending the invitation letters, and they also failed to assure us that we would get visas on arrival in Nigeria.

"We are also concerned about the safety since the Niger Delta region where the event is being held has been put on security alert due to danger of attacks by the Boko Haram extremist groups."

Francine Niyonsaba, Burundi's Olympic 800m silver medalist, shared pictures of herself, and other teammates camped on the airport floor, resting on their luggage on social media.

"Bad situation in Nigeria before African championship in ASABA 2018," she tweeted.

Events at the championships have been rescheduled after more than 300 athletes from 20 countries were delayed in Lagos and unable to be at the track for the 1 August start.

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: RFI

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.