By Ijeoma Okigbo
Asaba – Some athletes participating in the ongoing African Senior Athletics championships have complained of the state of the track at the Stephen Keshi stadium, Asaba describing it as “bumpy’’.
The athletes told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday that the tracks were not smooth enough and that the situation had affected their performances in the races.
The championships are the first major event taking place at the just-completed stadium with 52 countries in attendance.
Nigeria’s Seye Ogunlewe, who finished the Men’s 100m in fifth place with 10.45 seconds, said the tracks contributed to his failure to make a podium finish.
“ The tracks are a bit bumpy. Sometimes, I just felt like I would stumble and other times I am stable. We just need to do well with facilities.
“Well, I tried my best but my best was not good enough to get a medal, but I hope to be back stronger,’’ he said.
Cote d’ Iviore’s Ben Youssef Meite, who finished fourth with 10.36 seconds in the Men’s 100m, also alleged that the tracks were not good enough.
“The tracks are not good. They are really hard to race on and you cannot control your race, so it is not so good,’’ Meite said.
A 4x100m relay athlete, Innocent Bologo of Burkina Faso, told NAN he believed the tracks were not properly worked on.
“The tracks are not so nice, maybe because they had to set up facilities for this championships late. Hopefully, after the event it may be worked on,’’ Bologo said.
South Africa’s Akanni Simbine, who won the men’s 100m race with 10.25 seconds, also said that though the tracks were not smooth, he expected athletes to look beyond it.
“Yes, they are bumpy, but as an athlete, you can run on it. It should really not distract you, you just have to do whatever you can to race well,” Simbine said.
NAN reports that Solomon Ogba, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the competition, had told a news a news conference that he was not aware of the tracks issue being raised by the athletes.
Athletes emerging first and second in their respective events are expected to represent Africa at the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
The championship which began on Wednesday will end on Sunday.