It’s no longer news that the 21st edition of the African Senior Athletics Championship was held in Asaba, the capital of Delta state.
It’s also no longer news that the event was marred by a lot of irregularities ranging from athletics been stranded at the airport for days, most events of day1 of the tournament had to be cancelled due to poor organisation, uncompleted stadium, flags been hoisted upside down, wrong national anthem for some countries, and the list of irregularities are endless and some people have pointed at these irregularities as reason to why Nigeria won’t win the bid to host the World Championship in 2025.
But this article isn’t about all the irregularities rather it’s about the things that Asaba got right in hosting this championship and also how we can use those positives to put out a bid to host the World Championships in 2025.
The most important plus for Asaba 2018 Championship is the turnout of fans from the first day of the tournament to the last.
This championship had the highest number of attendance from day 1 to day 5 of tournaments hosted in recent years. The beauty about the attendance is that the fans were paying fans (though ticket was cheap) regular went for #500 and VIP was #1000 but organisers would feel glad about the passion shown by the fans.
Another positive is the participation of Private companies and investors into the tournament to make it a success. Asaba 2018 had over 7 private sponsors. This also is great news because the organisers want to see private investors show support to local and grassroots sports and Asaba 2018 has shown that with the right process, transparency and accountability private investors are ready to go into sports business in Nigeria.
Also the quality of competition at the tournament was top notch. In recent past, there’s been issues of top athletes in Africa not wanting to participate in championships taking place in Africa for one reason or another but Asaba 2018 proved different as athletic stars like Caster Semenya of South Africa, Divine Oduduru of Nigeria, Luxolo Adams of South Africa, Grace Wanjiru of Kenyan and so many others were in attendance plus national records were been broken by different athletes at this championship.
The last but not the least plus for Asaba 2018 was security. Although the tournament, there was no record of any security issue especially considering the fact that the South-South region of Nigeria has been notoriously known in recent pasts for its kidnapping and security issues, this is a massive plus for Nigeria.
Considering all these facts and figures if Nigeria continue to host other championships in Africa and keep improving on mistakes made then World Championships coming to Nigeria in 2025 is a very feasible prospect.