By Ben Efe
Botswana were the early birds of the 21st African Athletics Championships billed for August 1-5, but at the last count yesterday, more than15 countries have touched down in Asaba, Delta State.
Others participating nations, are said to have arrived Lagos and today, they will be airlifted to Asaba. On Sunday some of the athletes were seen doing light training, and they expressed their reediness to compete for honors in the Championships, which will be used to select the African team to the IAAF World Cup in Athletics billed for Prague, Czech Republic in September.
Meanwhile South Africa, whose athletes were seen yesterday in Asaba, said they are ready to dominate the Championships and maintain its vice grip on top of the medals table.
South Africa came with a strong team including world champions Caster Semenya (women 800m) and Luvo Manyonga (men long jump). His compatriot Khotso Mokoena is also in Asaba to vie for the title.
“For me the goal is to get the title, and definitely go to the Continental Cup and I feel like I am the best in Africa right now and I just have to prove it,” Mokoena said.
Sprinter Akani Simbine also is determined to clinch the 100m title in what promises to be an interesting contest with powerful Ivorian and Nigerian sprinters.
Simbine finished third in the 100m at the 2016 championships in Durban. Coming to Asaba he sent a warning with 9.93seconds run he did in recent London Games. It is the fastest African time this season with Cote’d Ivoire’s Arthur Cisse in a close marking with 9.94 seconds. Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru is also in the mix with a season’s best of 10.12 seconds.