Some athletes say that the delay they experienced following the unavailability of local flight from Lagos to Asaba, venue of the Senior African Athletics Championships may hamper their performance at the competition.
Some African contingent to the championships who flew into Nigeria have spent at least a day in Lagos following the unavailability or limited flight to Asaba.
Knewman Knewman, a sprint athlete from Bostwana, said they came in ahead of the event on Friday, with the intention of having enough time to prepare but were denied the opportunity because of flight unavailability.
“We came in on Friday, but due to unavailability of flight we had to stay back in Lagos till Saturday and flew to Owerri, and later had about three hours flight delay before hitting Asaba.
“We were lodged in a hotel that was not listed as one of the competition’s hotels, the food there was not really good and services as well.
“Yesterday (Monday) we were relocated to another hotel and I can say it was only yesterday we felt welcomed.
“Definitely, it will affect our performance and that of any other athlete.
“If the competition is starting tomorrow (Wednesday) and athletes haven’t arrived in Asaba, rested or granted proper accommodation, how will they cope?’’ he asked in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Asaba.
Knewman added that the Bostwana team had prepared well for the event, and called on the organisers to make better provisions for contingent in future events.
Algerian Abdelmalik Lahoulou, an African Games gold medallist in 400m hurdles, said the organisation is poor, but he personally intended to put in his best at the event.
“The organisation is poor. I am still expecting my luggage to come in but I have just trained this morning and I am hoping to put in my best.
“I want to clinch the gold medal and make my country proud,’’ Lahoulou told NAN.
The athletes, however, lauded the facilities at the newly completed Stephen Keshi Stadium, venue of the meet.
The championships is a qualifier to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Continental Cup in Ostarva, Czech Republic in September.