Nigeria confirmed its interest in hosting the 2025 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships as the African edition closed with victories for Beatrice Chepkoech and Caster Semenya in Asaba.
World record holder Chepkoech led home a 1-2 finish for Kenya in the 3,000 metres steeplechase today at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, just two weeks after her stunning 8min 44.33sec clocking at the Monaco Diamond League.
She produced a more tactical performance to triumph in 8.59.88 as team-mate Celliphine Chespol crossed second in 9:09.61.
Weyeshet Ansa Weldetsadik of Ethiopia took bronze in 9.23.92.
South Africa’s Semenya then completed the 400 and 800m double with a time of 1:56.06 over the longer distance.
Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba took silver in an equally quick 1:57.97 and Bayih Habitam Alemu clinched another Ethiopian bronze in 1:58.86.
Marie-Josée Ta Lou, the silver medallist over 100 and 200m at last year’s World Championships in London, completed her domination of the two sprints in Nigeria.
The Ivorian won the 200m today in 22.50 to finish a huge 0.86 clear of second placed Bevina Abessolo of Cameroon.
Hor Halutie took Gambian bronze in 23.40.
There was home success for Nigeria in the women’s 400m hurdles as Glory Nathaniel won in 55.53.
South Africa’s Wenda Nel and Kenya’s Maureen Jelagat of Kenya took silver and bronze in respective times of 57.04 and 57.27.
South Africa also clinched gold in the men’s 200m as Ncincilili Titi won in 20.46 to beat Nigeria’s Oduduru Ejowvokoghene, second in 20.60, and another South African in Luxolo Adams, who was third in the same time.
It came at the end of a chaotic week of racing in which numerous organizational problems emerged.
These spanned the arrival of athletes, with many stranded in Lagos before arrival in Asaba, as well as the state of the track itself.
Nigeria’s still owe a missing $150,000 (£106,000/€121,000) mistakenly sent to the country last year by the IAAF and have so far only pledged to repay half.
Athletics Federation of Nigeria President Ibrahim Gusau insists Abuja will bid for the 2025 edition of the flagship IAAF event, however, after plans were announced to host the event in Africa.
Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa have all been mooted as potential hosts.
“The Abuja stadium will be renovated not just for the event but to prepare athletes, Abuja offers excellent traffic and road network complemented by standard hotels and hospitality facilities,” Gusau said, according to The Daily Trust.
“So by 2025, Nigeria will be ready to host the world.
“The Government has put not just Asaba, but Nigeria on the world map of athletics.
“There have been ups and downs, but the athletes ave been in high spirit.
“Spirit of athleticism kindled among startlets.”