BY IHUNANYA OKOYE
In line with the words of the International Press Association (AIPS) Vice President, Mitchel Obi; Asaba 2018 Africa Athletics Senior Championship ( CAA) has come and gone but the fever it brought with it still hovers around all who took part in it.
Asaba 2018 CAA partially lived up to its billing as the grand finale of the competition outshone the brouhaha that surrounded its commencement.
Nevertheless, it would be appropriate to list the benefits gotten by Delta state in hosting the competition.
Before now, most people outside the shores of Nigeria do not know of the legendary city called Asaba; but after the CAA 2018, Asaba became popular amongst African countries and beyond. The city carved its name in the legendary book of great cities that have hosted the CAA since its inception. Residents of Delta state also enjoyed the moment while it lasted. Not only did some of them receive free access to watch the competition but most of them had the opportunity to transact various businesses in and outside the Stephen Keshi stadium. The hotels in Asaba were not left out as most guests booked accomodation for their comfort which immensely boosted the economy of Delta state.
Also for the first time in the history of the CAA, athletes who won medals were given prize monies.
Moreover, the governor of Delta state, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa who renovated the edifice; the Stephen Keshi stadium, should be congratulated immensely for giving Deltans a sense of belonging. With proper maintenance of the stadium, Delta state can host competitions in future.
Pointing out the blunders of the competition, we all witnessed the unfortunate flight incidencies that occured prior to the competition as most athletes from different African countries complained of flight challenges of connecting to Delta state. It was reported that some athletes even slept at the airport due to the unavailability of planes. This anomaly would have been avoided if the necessary plans were made on time by the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
Another blunder was the track of the stadium which some athletes blamed for their woes in getting medals. Ogunlewe Adeseye and Akanni Simbine pointed it out. According to sources, the track was in that shape due to the hasty renovation of the stadium.
Then comes the Journalists stand where the co-joined chair and table meant for Journalists to sit on turned out to be an eyesore. Most Journalists who spoke on the issue berated the discomfort of the Press stand which they say feels like prison. One of the Journalists said, ” it seems the organisers of the 2018 CAA have no regard for Journalists. How can they tell us to sit on this terrible construction.
However, the media centre which is more conducive with electronic gadgets for aJournalists to work with is situated few metres from the Press stand which makes it impossible for Jouurnalists there to see the athletes in action due to the absence of a Television. It would have been proper for the LOC to connect a TV in the media centre that shows athletes in action.
It was alsso observed that there was no Television in the stadium that shows the names of the athletes and the time they finished their events
The publicity of the CAA 2018 was partially poor too as some residents of Delta state and Journalists posited that the LOC should have given the broadcast rights to more than one media house to enable Deltans who could not come to the stadium to watch the games live at home.
Having taken all these into consideration, it becomes imperative for African countries and countries in other continents to embrace the words of the Vice President, International Press Association ( AIPS), Mitchel Obi who advised the LOC of future sports competitions to always work in tandem with sports journalists inorder to host successful competitions.