Officials of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), believe that the facilities being put in place at Asaba Stadium for the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships can host any World Championship.
The Chief Executive Officer of the African Athletics body Lamine Faty as well as the Vice President, Gungaram Gerard Vivian were on the ground to ascertain Nigeria’s readiness for the biennial championship last weekend.
The visiting CAA officials went around the main bowl of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, inspecting the warm-up area, main track, media area, technical, VIP and the VVIP rooms. They also visited the equipment room to see the apparatus that have been acquired by the hosts.
The Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Chief Solomon Ogba, who conducted the CAA officials around the complex, said yesterday that the duo of Lamine Faty and Gungaram Gerard Vivian were so excited with the level of preparation, particularly the kind of facilities being put in place by the government of Delta State for the championship.
“The CAA officials told us that the equipment we have on ground can host the World Athletics championships,” Ogba said. “We are hoping to set new standards that the next host of the championship will have to maintain.
“Our African Championships is just like the European Athletics Championships or the Asian and America equivalent. I have attended many editions of our championships, and without being disrespectful to previous hosts, our standard is not at par with that of other continental or area championships. Our aim is to raise the standard so that all our star athletes will, from this edition, attend our premium championships.”
Ogba said a lot of innovations and fresh ideas are being introduced to make Asaba 2018 as good as the IAAF World Championships.
“In terms of technology, we are using the latest technology in athletics for all our events. We have secured over 20 hotels for athletes and officials and the training of their staff will start soon.”
The Chairman also revealed that the LOC was working with the Federal Government to ensure that everybody accredited for the championships gets their visas at point of entry and receive a very warm reception at the airport.
“There will also be a world-class opening and closing ceremony which will showcase the best of Asaba, Delta, Nigeria, and Africa to the world. For the first time, medalists in the African Championships will get some reward for their effort.
“We did it with African Youth Athletics Championships in 2013, which is now the template for future editions. We are determined to do it again so that our best athletes will embrace the African Championships,” Ogba stated.