*50 nations, 15,000 athletes, 48 events scheduled – Akawo
Delta State government has assured of the timely completion of the Asaba township stadium ahead of the 30th July to 5th August Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) championships to be hosted by the State.
According to a statement signed by Amanzi Marcus, the Chairman, Media and Publicity sub-committee of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, “the Chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission, Chief Tony Okowa, gave the assurance when the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Hon Ibrahim Shehu Gusau led an inspection team to the Asaba stadium.”
The Inspection Team comprised Board members of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and members of the Local Organising Committee for the CAA championships 2018.
Chief Okowa said although the Asaba stadium was abandoned for many years, the on-going work is a testimony of the State Government’s resolve to finally complete the biggest sports edifice in the State capital for the benefit of residents of Delta State, Nigeria and Africa.
He said Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is committed to the stadium project and sports development.
Engineer Godwin Onyekachi who is in charge of the work explained that they are currently working on the drainage after which attention will be focused on the pole vault, water jump, long jump and other areas including completion of the roofing.
He revealed that the old field was too large and took up part of lanes one to three but it has been redesigned and reduced to meet IAAF/FIFA standard of 105 by 68 metres.
Engineer Godwin Onyekachi said there will be two 100 metres tracks as the old 6 lane track is being replaced with a standard 9 lanes track in the new design being implemented.
Contributing, Chairman Technical Committee of the Games, Yusuf Alli, who is a former African Long Jump record holder expressed satisfaction with the double track arrangement adding that faster times are expected as the most modern track will be laid.
President Athletics Federation of Nigeria Ibrahim Shehu Gusau said he is impressed by the on-going construction but advised that working hours should be increased to enable the work be completed in March 2018.
He said the Media tribune, Camera main platform, commentary positions and mixed zones should be ready before the next inspection visit this year.
The AFN President said the CAA championships will positively project Delta State and called on other stakeholders to contribute towards making the number one African Athletics competition a huge success in Nigeria.
He revealed that there will be a test run of the Asaba stadium on completion adding that the next inspection will be led by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Barrister Solomon Dalung.
Secretary of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Amechi Akawo, who is also Secretary of the Local Organising Committee revealed they are planning to host more than 50 African countries with a projection of about 15,000 athletes to compete in 48 athletics events in 2018 in Asaba, Delta Sate in Nigeria’s South- South region.