Tag Archives: Asaba

Asaba 2018: Africa guilty for failing to deliver to the world

“The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence.” – Nelson Mandela

They came in their hundreds with high expectations. They thought all the glitter that Nollywood offered was gold. They were expecting world-class transportation. They expected the red carpets to be rolled out for them. They were left frustrated at the realisation that all the talk about Nigeria being the giant of Africa was after all, all talk.

They thought we were going to offer them a tournament like the showpiece that the Russians offered the world. Alas, Africa was guilty of expecting too much from its errant brother.

Asaba, a town bordering the Niger River at the crossroads between East and West, has not had this much press since the massacre of hundreds of its male population by the Nigerian forces during the country’s infamous civil war. It came under focus, this time for good, last week as it prepared to host the 21st African Senior Athletics Championships.

Hundreds of athletes from across the continent had come in search of medals and qualification spots for the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup. But many were left stranded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos due to an inability to find connecting flights to Asaba.

Much of the problem, it has emerged, was due to poor communication between visiting teams and the local organising committee (LOC).

There is just one flight to Asaba daily, an Overland Airways ATR 42 plane that carries 48 passengers. It was going to be impossible to manage the sudden increase in human traffic for the event without hiring charter planes for the athletes and officials. How the Confederation of African Athletics awarded such a tournament to a city with obviously very limited flight connections needs to be interrogated considering it must have presented a bid document with full details of transport and logistics infrastructure on offer.

The other options were for delegations to fly into neighbouring cities like Benin, Owerri and Port Harcourt and then travel by road to Asaba. We were greeted with scenes of athletes sleeping on the airport floor as well as complaints on social media leading to a public relations nightmare that threatened to derail the other good work done by the organisers.

After the tournament eventually got underway following the postponement of the activities of the morning session of the first day, things moved on smoothly. Much of the 22,000 seats inside the Stephen Keshi Stadium were snapped up by fee-paying spectators who poured in to watch some of Africa’s most famous athletes.

It was easily the biggest event to be hosted in that city since it became capital of the oil-rich Delta State in 1991. The beautiful Stephen Keshi Stadium, named after one of Nigeria’s greatest and most enigmatic football figures, was lit up by the event. Following years of abandonment, the stadium finally welcomed Africa for its first major event.

Despite the smooth flow of proceedings after the difficulties suffered by several delegations, the tournament will unfortunately always be remembered by the flight problems faced by the visiting delegations. It is normal, bad news travels fast. Nigeria’s reputation as a country that is capable of hosting international events was, unfortunately, terribly dented. But who is to blame? Can one really host a perfect tournament in our country as it is?

There is hardly any existing infrastructure to support any sector of endeavour, not the least sport. One of the main conversations among many Nigerian journalists during the 2018 World Cup was the idea of Nigeria hosting the tournament one day. We came to the conclusion that it can only be a distant dream.

Where is the transportation system to power the movement of hundreds of thousands of people that would visit to support their teams? Where are the hotel rooms to lodge guests? Where are the standard restaurants for them to wine and dine? Where is the electricity to power all the technology? A country where our two national stadia are comatose? Asaba is just a tip of the iceberg. We know our problems, unfortunately many people looking from outside do not see it.

For a country of our size and so-called potential, it is no wonder that our African brothers and sisters cried out at the poor manner in which they were treated. It is not their fault. They expected better from us and were left disappointed that the “big brother” of the continent struggled to get things right. Many countries with lesser resources have sadly left us behind.

Rwanda and Morocco hosted the last two African Nations Championships with glowing reviews from all the journalists that attended. Cameroon put up a brilliant World Cup qualifier against us in Yaounde last year. South Africa hosted a brilliant World Cup. But Nigeria will remain what it is, a place where logic fails and hired pens try to justify it.

Weep not for Nigeria, O Africa, for we should no longer be the yardstick for judging your progress. Unlike Mr Mandela, I think Africa can become a place of progress and respect as long as Nigeria no longer tries to get in the way. It is the sad reality.

Source: guardian.ng

Who was Nicholas Bett?

Kenya’s world champion hurdler Nicholas Bett tragically died on Wednesday.

Bett passed away just a day after returning home from the Continental Championships in Nigeria.

The news of his death has left the athletics world reeling.

Track and field’s world governing body, the IAAF, said it was “deeply saddened and shocked” by the news of the father of two’s death.

Barnabas Korir, an official with Athletics Kenya (AK), said: “It is very sad because I talked to him yesterday. He had gone to Nairobi Hospital to see a doctor because of the injury he picked up in Asaba.

“This morning we got the reports (of his death) and, as AK, we are saddened beyond words.”

Nicholas Bett car after it veered off the road and rolled into the ditch. Photo: Courtesy

Kenyan Sports Minister Rashid Echesa added: “On behalf of the sporting fraternity and moscakenya I convey my sincerest condolences to his family. Rest in peace.”

How did Nicholas Bett die?

The Kenyan athlete was killed in a car crash.

The incident occurred after the car he was driving veered off the road and landed in a ditch.

Police commander Patrick Wambani confirmed that Bett hit a bump before losing control of his car.

Where did the incident occur?

Bett was killed while travelling in Lessos, Nandi, in his home country of Kenya.

He is understood to have died at the scene.

How old was Nicholas Bett and why was he a history-maker?

Bett was just 28 years old.

The 400 metre hurdler made history at the 2015 world championships in Beijing by winning the gold medal

In doing so, he became the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in a short distance race on the world stage. He ran a personal best of 47.79 seconds to claim victory in the Bird’s Nest.

He did not qualify for the final at the Olympic Games in Rio the following year, after being disqualified in his heat for hitting a hurdle. He had been expected to place among the medalists.

Unfortunately, he was unable to defend his world title in London in 2017 due to injury, one of a number he suffered in recent years; in last week’s African Athletics Championships he was forced to pull out of his race due to another.

Nevertheless, he was a two-time African Championship medallist.

Kenya Rules Africa in Athletics Championships

Kenya proved her dominance in athletics once again as the East African power house edging out defending champion, South Africa and host Nigeria to win the 21st edition of the African Senior Athletics Championships rounded up yesterday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Nigeria.

The East Africans, who hosted and won the 19th edition in 2014, beat defending champions, South Africa and host, Nigeria, to the second and third positions respectively.

The Kenyans swept six gold medals yesterday to bring their total medals to 19, made up of 11 gold, six silver and two bronze medals.


  1. Hellen Obiri (5,000m),
  2. Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase)
  3. Samuel Gathimba (20km race walk)
  4. Julius Yego (javelin)
  5. Elijah Manangoi (1500m)
  6. Winny Chebet (1500m),
  7. Edward Zakayo (5,000m)
  8. Beatrice Chepkoech (3,000m steeplechase)
  9. Mathew Sawe (high jump)
  10. Stacey Ndiwa (10,000m)
  11. Men’s 4x400m relay.


  1.  Emmanuel Korir (800m)
  2. Grace Wanjiru (20km race walk)
  3. Timothy Cheruiyot (1500m)
  4. Celliphine Chespol (3,000m steeplechase)
  5. Alice Aprot (10,000m)
  6. Women’s 4x400m relay


  1.  Fancy Cherono (3,000m steeplechase)
  2. Women’s 4x100m relay team

South Africa, who hosted and won the last edition in Durban, won a total of 30 medals made up of nine gold, 13 silver and eight bronze medals. Team Nigeria got 19 medals made up of nine gold, five silver and five bronze medals.

Morocco, Ethiopia, Cote d’ivoire, Tunisia and Botswana followed in that order.
For the first time in the history of the African championships, athletes from Nigeria and other African countries will not just go home with their medals, but with monetary reward.

The Local Organizing Committee of the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championship yesterday revealed prize money for athletes who won medals in Asaba.

Speaking in Asaba, LOC Chairman, Solomon Ogba, announced that athletes who won gold medal will get a cash prize of $3000 each.

Ogba added that silver medalists will be rewarded with ($2000), while bronze medalists will smile home with ($1000).

Over 120 medals were won at the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championship, tagged Asaba 2018.

The next edition of the championship will be taking place in Algeria in 2020.


Manangoi and Cheruiyot win gold and silver in 1500m race in Asaba

World and Commonwealth games champion Elijah Manangoi led 1-2 Kenyan finish for men’s 1,500m final at the 21st African Athletics Championships at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba,Nigeria.

Manangoi gave a powerful kick with about 300m to go and leading his training partner Timothy Cheruiyot, who has run this season five world leading time this season to give Kenya two medals.

Chepkoech leads a podium sweep for Kenya in steeplechase

World 3000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech led a 1-2-3 Kenya sweeps on the final day of the Africa Senior Athletics Championships at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Nigeria.

Chepkoech took gold and the world U20 steeplechase record holder Celliphine Chespol took silver with Fancy Cherono closing the podium three finishes.

Kipruto wins Kenya second gold

World and Olympics 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto  took top honors at the 21st edition of the Africa Senior Athletics Championships at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Nigeria.

Kipruto cut the tape in 8:26.38 and was followed by his fierce rivalry Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali who crossed the line in 8:28.01 with Getnet Wale Bayabl from Ethiopia closing the podium three finishes in 8:30.87

Kenya upbeat for medals in Asaba 2018 African Championships

Team Kenya is eyeing to top the tally of the 2018 African Championships in Athletics (ACA) in Asaba, Nigeria despite some delayed action on Wednesday.

The distance running powerhouse last topped the medal charts at their home event in Nairobi 2010 where they bagged 10 gold, seven silver and eight bronze medals to finish ahead of Nigeria and South Africa.

Despite falling victims to the travel chaos that saw the team stranded for 48 hours at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos before finally arriving at the Delta State city on Wednesday afternoon, the East African nation has set sights on dominating the biannual track and field showpiece.

“We are here to compete and win as many medals as possible despite the hiccups here and there, which is normal and it happens with a lot of people coming to Nigeria,” Kenya Team Manager, Abraham Mutai said upon arrival in Asaba.

“We are still focused to taking all the medals, this is a big team from Kenya, we are almost a team of 90 with around 65 athletes and we are ready. As a Team Leader, I’m ready, keeping my team together and focused on what we came to do here,” he added.

The country will be seeking to open their medal account in the men’s 10,000m final on the opening day later Wednesday that organisers reduced to only three events following the travel disorder that delayed the arrival of participating teams.

Reigning world and Commonwealth champions, Elijah Manangoi (men’s 1,500m) and Hellen Obiri (women’s 5,000m) lead a loaded cast of 61 Kenyan athletes that includes past and current world-beaters.

Among others to watch include Beijing 2015 world champions, Julius Yego (men’s Javelin) and Nicholas Bett (men’s 400m Hurdles) as well as London 2017 World Championships silver winner, Timothy Cheruiyot (men’s 1,500m) who is the fastest runner at his distance in the world this year.

“Team Kenya, welcome to Asaba Delta State. Let us take everything in our stride with our usual humility. Good luck and God bless,” Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jack Tuwei said in an earlier statement to the athletes upon their arrival in Asaba.

Kenya finished third at the last edition of the event, Marrakech 2014 in Morocco behind South Africa and Nigeria with seven gold, eight silver and 10 bronze medals.



The Kenyan government has absolved Nigeria from travel hitches fiasco blames that affected countries traveling for the 21st Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Asaba.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Sports, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Hassan Noor Hassan said the major issue was a logical hitch by the Nigeria Athletics Federation and the event’s Local Organising Committee (LOC).

“The organisers did not anticipate the huge numbers of athletes and officials in reaction to the available flights which caused the chaos witnessed,” said Hassan.

He said it is not only Kenya that was inconvenienced but several countries suffered similarly from the travel hitch crisis.

The CAS asked Kenyans not to be worried as the country’s squad arrived in Asaba on Tuesday (August 1) at 12noon, Kenyan time.

Consequently, due to some organising problems, the organisers, decided to cancel Day one (1) of the competitions programme for round one of the 100m events, Men and Women and the 10000m Men final event.

“There will be a reschedule of the rest of the program to sit into the remaining four days,” read a statement from the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA).

Teams from several African countries heading to Asaba, Delta State in Nigeria for the competition were held up at the Mohammad Murtala International Airport in Lagos stranded since last Saturday unable to connect flights

Moroccan delegation of athletes and officials were dismayed and decided to return home in protest.