NAIROBI, Kenya, February 17- The forthcoming Africa Athletics Championships in Benin will be simulcast with their European equivalent in a landmark broadcast deal, the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) confirmed on Friday.
Addressing the media in Nairobi, CAA Secretary General, Vivian Gungaram, added officials from European television are in Benin to plan with the country’s host broadcaster how both events will be transmitted to viewers simultaneously.
“We have got the experience from the Nairobi edition two years ago where some middle distance events were aired live alongside the European Championships and on this occasion, the whole afternoon programme will be broadcast in duplex,” Gungaram said.
“This is one of the major improvements that will be witnessed from the Nairobi 2010 edition. The other development is that Benin will host the event in a brand new stadium with a six lane warm-up track, a facility that was not available in Addis Ababa (2008) and Nairobi,” the CAA Secretary added.
Gungaram assured holding the event close to the London Olympics would not dilute the competition with many top competitors particularly mid and long distance runners from Kenya thought to opt to skip the event.
“We are continuing seeking ways to improve our championships to match the European ones and Benin will be another step in realising this goal. Ten years ago, world champions and record holders in Africa were not entering our event but this has changed,” Gungaram explained.
He was speaking during the official closing of the four-day Competition Organisation Seminar staged by the Nairobi based IAAF Regional Development Centre where he was the main facilitator.
The seminar pooled together participants from 20 English speaking Africa countries who were inducted with the knowledge to organise quality athletics events in their countries and continent.
Officials from Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Gambia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya took part.
“All the officials who were trained here will return home with a letter asking their federations to include them in organising athletics events in their countries to ensure what they learned here is employed to ensure we have proper events in Africa,” the CAA secretary said.
IAAF Council Member and Athletics Kenya chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat, who officially closed the seminar, decried the poor standards employed in staging events in Africa and called the trainees to be the agents of change.
“Africa has a lot of problems of organisation, management and change. There are many changes in the federations’ management that make coordination when hosting events difficult.
“We have problems in Ghana, Lesotho, Sierra Leone and now Sudan and unless you have consistent management in athletics, you will never have a steady slow of athletes,” the long-serving administrator charged.