Africa: Cancellation of African Champs Shatters Hopes of Athletes

Athletics track.

THE cancellation of the Africa Senior Championships has shattered the hopes of many athletes who had attained qualifying times.

The meet that had been scheduled for June 23 to 27, in Lagos, Nigeria, but was called off, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It is with regret that I announce the cancellation of the Africa Senior Championships, which were planned to take place in Lagos from June 23 to 27, 2021.

"Indeed, after the Algeria's desire to postpone the championships, and realising the need to offer competition to our athletes, the Confederation decided to find a host country so as to save the championships.

"Unfortunately, Nigeria, which committed to host the competition has just informed CAA that the Scientific Commission had not allowed to host such a big competition.

"CAA apologises for all these inconvenience and solicits your understanding for this situation beyond its control," read the letter by Confederation of African Athletics director-general, Lamine Faty.

Upcoming junior high jumper, Kudakwashe Chadenga, was looking forward to making his debut at the event.

He had an impressive performance at the National Junior Championships in Bulawayo where she made the qualifying standard.

"I am disappointed, I am hurt," he said.

"But, because of this pandemic, it's something to expect, somehow, even though it hurts because it's one of the big competitions I was willing to go for this year because I have never competed at such higher levels before.

"I guess, from here, we have to look at the future competitions ahead and move on."

The young jumper is maintaining a positive mind-set, shifting his focus to the World Under-20 Championships in August.

"I look forward to competing more in local, and regional competitions, and really work not to jump just 2.16m but to go further than that," said Chadenga.

Ngoni Makusha says he now has to utilise the few competitions coming up in South Africa, where he has been based for the last few months, to try and reach the qualifying mark, for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

"It's really disappointing, I was fully prepared for the championships and it would have been a perfect competition to qualify for the Olympics," he said.

"If I don't make it for the Olympics, I will go off-season, rest a bit and start preparing for the next season, since there's the World Championships next year."

The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe had targeted the event for Olympics qualification.

"It's a closed chapter, now we are waiting for athletes in USA, they still have an opportunity, and Ngoni is running in South Africa," said NAAZ president, Tendai Tagara.

"I am told with the rising number of Covid-19 cases, they may close their races as well.

"It's a crisis."

NAAZ are pinning their hopes on triple jumper Chengetayi Mapaya and sprinters Tinotenda Matiyenga and Kundai Maguranyanga.

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