NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1- After being stuck in Lagos, Nigeria, for close to 48 hours due to lack of connecting flights, the final group of Kenyan athletes finally departed for Asaba for the 2018 Africa Senior Athletics Championships scheduled to gun off on Wednesday afternoon.
The athletes arrived in Lagos on Monday evening where they were expected to connect to the competition city, Asaba, almost 500km away from the capital.
— Timothy Cheruiyot (@tim_cheruiyot) August 1, 2018
However, the athletes, alongside several other teams were stranded in Lagos as they weren’t enough flights leaving for the Delta State region, a case of poor preparedness on the side of the Local organizing Committee.
It is not sounding very good in Lagos. Tired and visibly upset team Kenya are now looking at options to fly back home ASAP if they can’t fly to Asaba today for Athletics champs that kick off tomorrow morning. Apparently airport in Asaba is unlit so no flights can land at night. pic.twitter.com/cczYijAgfP
— Evelyn Watta (@evelynwatta) July 31, 2018
According to reports from Lagos, Athletics Kenya had threatened to book as flight back to Nairobi from Lagos for the 44 athletes and officials that remained behind after a first group of 22 left for Asaba.
It took some concerted effort from the LOC to ensure that the Kenyan contingent alongside other teams including Ivory Coast which had threatened to go back home, remained. They were booked in a five-star hotel for the night.
“We have just picked our boarding passes and we are headed to the flight. It has been chaos here,” a Kenyan journalist with the team in Lagos told Capital Sport.
Athletes voiced their concern via social media as the situation became more and more depressing.
Still stranded in Lagos. pic.twitter.com/zNG5jIgd6w
— Timothy Cheruiyot (@tim_cheruiyot) July 31, 2018
“Still stranded at Lagos Airport and (the) competition is starting tomorrow morning. Bad situation. Wakenya (Kenyans) pray for us,” World and Commonwealth Games 1500m champion Elijah Manangoi posted on his facebook page.
His sentiments were shared by 2015 World Javelin Champion Julius Yego who said; “Stranded for the second (day) at the airport, now back to hotel yet we have competitions starting tomorrow morning. We are not sure if we will go to Asaba, the place of the competition tomorrow! Nigeria has failed Africa, CAA (Confederation of Africa Athletics) has failed African lovers of Athletics.”
Athletics Kenya management pushing for the postponement of 10000m men from today evening. All their three runners still in Lagos. South Sudan runner also stuck with the team. Meanwhile latest reports Kenya government ready to fly it’s team home if they don’t move to Asaba by noon
— Evelyn Watta (@evelynwatta) August 1, 2018
Kenyan athletes will be in action on day one of the competition with the program having been squeezed into an afternoon program due to the delay. The program had initially been scheduled to start in the morning but will start at 3pm local time.
According to reports, Athletics Kenya is pushing to have the 10,000m race pushed as most of the competing athletes were still held back in Asaba.
Kenyans will also take part in the 100m heats.