From the Media Capital, to the Global Ethiopian Community
Saturday July 22nd 2017

Ethiopians arrive Monday

By CHRIS MUSUMBA, DAILY NATION:

The championship fever is gripping Nairobi, just two days before the Africa’s premier track and field competition is staged at the Nyayo National Stadium.

With Kenya’s biggest rivals in middle and long distance Ethiopia expected to arrive on Monday, the stage is set for what should be an enthralling five-day championships featuring 850 athletes and 500 officials from 45 countries.

Local Organising Committee chief executive David Okeyo said Eritrea has Zersanay Tedesse in its provisional squad and is expected to make the most in the men 10,000m race. With Kenenisa Bekele missing from the Ethiopian delegation, Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam and Ibrahim Jeilan will step in to defend their gold and silver they won at home in 2008.

Nigeria will take on South Africa in the battle for sprints and field events in the championship, which starts in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Centre of attraction

Beijing 2008 Olympics long jump silver medallist Blessing Okagbare and Nigerian 100 metres men’s champion, Obinna Metu will be at the centre of focus as they step in to fill in the shoes of Africa’s 100m record holder Olusoji Fasuba who is missing from the West African team.

Others in the provisional Nigeria team list presented to the LOC are Ogho-Ogene Egwero, Benjamin Adukwu, Fred Agbaje, Peter Emelieze and US-based Damola Osayemi, Shade Abugan, Josephine Ehigie, Etim Margaret, Bukola Ogunloko and Ajoke Adumosu (400m and 4x400m Women).

In the men 400m, Noah Akwu, Saul Weigopwa, Godday James, Tobi Ogunmola and Isah Salihu will be the stars to watch. Seun Adigun, Jessica Ohanaja in 100m hurdles, Ajoke Adumosu (400m Hurdles), Bolanle Ogun and Queen Obisesan (hammer), Tosin Oke (triple jump), Stanley Gbagbeke, Samson Idiata (long jump), Bayo Adio (high jump) are also in the Nigerian team.

The final lists for all teams will be known on Tuesday after the general technical meeting. Botswana, who have a squad of 16, will be aiming to keep a firm grip on sprints and field events. They have brought along Africa 400m women champion Amantle Montsho, Kabilo Kgosiemong, who won gold in the high jump competition and 400m bronze medallist Isaac Makwala.

Libya’s delegation experienced a slight delay in Cairo due to visa issues, but the quick intervention by the LOC helped the situation and arrived on Sunday. LOC is working around the clock to clear the small areas yet to be polished with the installation of the Electronic Scoreboard now complete.

Only the rail camera is yet to be cleared from the Airport al though Okeyo confirmed it will be done with on Monday. It will mark the first time a rail camera is used in the East and Central Africa region. There will also be a Confederation of African Athletics council meeting on Monday which will seek to approve Africa’s calendar running to 2016.

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