Tanzania has pulled out the African Athletics Championships in Nigeria due to what it called poor organisation and security concerns in the West African nation. Tanzania was expected to send five athletes to the biennual championships in the southern city of Asaba, but officials said they were dissatisfied with the poor travelling plans to the event, as well as the threat of insecurity from extremist groups in the region.
The lead-up to the event, which was due to have gotten under way on August 1, has seen more than 300 athletes from 20 countries stranded for two days in Lagos, without flight connections to Asaba. “The organisers of the African championship acted too late in sending the invitation letters, and they also failed to assure us that we would get visas on arrival in Nigeria,” Athletics Tanzania secretary Wilhelm Gidabuday said. “We are also concerned about the safety since the Niger Delta region where the event is being held has been put on security alert due to the danger of attacks by the Boko Haram extremist groups.”
Kenya, represented by 60 athletes, also saw their travel plans affected with pictures shown of athletes and officials sleeping rough at Lagos airport. Kenyan officials said the team were to travel to Asaba on Thursday for the rescheduled championships.