The Delta State government has expressed its readiness to host the 21st edition of the African Senior Athletics Championships billed to hold in Nigeria next year.
The Delta State Governor Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, assured the President of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, that the state will host the best championship ever, during the latter’s visit to the state on Monday, March 21st.
Kalkaba was hosted in the office of the Governor alongside his entourage which included his wife; President of the Athletics Federations of Nigeria (AFN) Solomon Ogba; African Record holder in the women’s 400m Falilat Ogunkoya, and AFN’s Head of Communications and Media, Olukayode Thomas amongst others.
Okowa noted that although Nigerians love Football more, Athletics engages more youth than any other sport, thus the need to encourage more young people to get involved in Track and Field.
The Governor also stated that with good planning, it is possible to organise and put together a good and memorable show, and revealed that Delta State will soon unveil its plans for a successful hosting.
He said, “Thank God the championship is next year. Delta is ready to work with the AFN and CAA to put together a world class event, and we are looking forward to a successful hosting.”
On his part, the CAA President thanked the Governor for being ready to host the rest of the continent. He noted that the Niger Delta region, especially Delta State, is very important to the CAA due to the abundance of talent in the region.
Kalkaba pointed out that the 2018 Senior Athletics Championships is very important as the representatives for Africa to the World Cup will be selected in Delta, so Africa’s best will be competing in the oil-rich city.
He said the CAA is ready to offer the required assistance to make Asaba 2018 a world class event like they did in 2013 during the inaugural African Youth Athletics Championships (AYAC) held in Warri.
Delta State has produced some notable athletes including Beijing 2008 Silver medallist and Commonwealth Record holder (100m) Blessing Okagbare; two-time African Long Jump Champion and Commonwealth GOLD medallist Ese Brume, and African Juniors double sprint Champion Divine Oduduru.