Nigeria’s President Mohammadu Buhari, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and the President of International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), Lord Sebastian Coe, have all urged athletes participating in 21st African Senior Athletics Championship, tagged Asaba 2018 to harness the event to build friendships that will consolidate peace and unity in Africa.
They spoke on 01/08/18, at the opening ceremony of the event in Asaba.
According to the President whose address was read by the Minister of Sports and Youths Development, Mr Solomon Dalung, “Sports has become a veritable vehicle for friendship and building relationship among African nation.
“If Africa must excel in sports, private bodies must be involved in the sponsorship of sports championship,” the President said and thanked Governor Okowa, the government and people of Delta State for hosting the championship on behalf of the country.
The President urged the governor to keep the flag flying as his good works were highly appreciated.
Governor Okowa in a brief speech, thanked God that 52 African countries were in Asaba for the championship, stating, “I welcome all of you to Asaba and it is my prayer that you enjoy your 5-day stay. Championship of this nature is vital in building friendship.
“It is a thing of joy that we have provided a befitting stadium for the championship, enjoy your stay in Asaba,” the governor asserted.
President of International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), Lord Sebastian Coe, in his own comments, commended Governor Okowa for providing a befitting venue for the championship, stating that the Stephen Keshi Stadium “is a legacy for generations to come.”
President of Confederation of African Athletics, Mr. Hamad Malboum also, thanked Okowa for providing venue for the championship and urged athletes and officials participating in the events to respect the rules of the game.
The CAA 2018, had been oprned with pomp, fanfare and a glitteting kaleidiscope of colours, complemented by a smart March past by contigents from some of the participating countries and some selected school secondary school children bearing flags.
The First Gold medal of the track events at GAS 2018, was won on the opening day at the championship, by an Ethiopian, Jemal Vimer Mekomeu in the 10, 000 metres race.
Renowned musicians and fire works also added colour to the opening ceremony which saw the brand new 23, 000 capacity Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, filled to the brim by excited and ecstatic spectators.