Nigeria: Covid-19 Stops Lagos From Hosting African Athletics Championships

(file photo).

Lagos was going to host the Championship for a second time.

The 2021 edition of the African Athletics Championships will no longer be held in Lagos, Nigeria as earlier anticipated.

This follows the inability of the Federal Ministry of Sports and the Lagos State government to get the needed go-ahead from the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.

Though originally meant to hold in Algeria, the continental championship was moved to Lagos and was billed to hold between June 23 and 27, 2021 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere. That plan has, however, had to be jettisoned.

This is after the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 highlighted the dangers hosting the Athletics Meet may lead to.

In its reply to the Ministry of Sports, the PSC said after careful deliberation and consideration of the proposed event, it noted that the increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in certain countries coupled with the widespread prevalence of mutant strains of the virus outside Nigeria poses the risk of importation of these mutant strains.

The PSC also reiterated that the delay in vaccinating a large proportion of the citizenry due to a shortage in the global supply of vaccines may translate to a risk of another wave of infections in the country

In this light, the PSC concluded that hosting an event like the African Championship at this time will constitute a threat to the gains that have been made in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last-minute withdrawal by Lagos from hosting the African Athletics Championships is a big blow for the Confederation of African Athletics who has been working tirelessly to see that the event could serve as the last major qualifying window to the Olympics for the continent's athletes.

Lagos was about to host the Championship for the second time in 32 years.

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