James Magayi in Asaba
Repercussions of the shoddy CAA Africa Athletics Championships in Nigeria will be felt long afterwards as top athletes swore never to grace the continental track and field jamboree again.
At least four star-studded athletes with Olympic and World Championships medals in Kenya Team are ending their participation in the continental showpiece at Asaba.
The athletes have decided to stick around and vie for places in the upcoming Continental Cup slated for Czech Republic in September but will snub future CAA events.
Africa javelin record holder Julius Yego is among the aggrieved athletes and is willing to cut links with a competition that helped parachute his career to the pinnacle.
“If it was not for the Continental Cup that I had planned for since the season started, I would have turned back and went home. CAA and the LOC don’t care about us. We are always urged to participate in Africa and help inspire others but competing in Africa is proving to be detrimental to athletes,” the ‘YouTube’ man said.
Yego shot to fame in the 2012 African championships when he won Kenya a rare medal in field events. The Finnish athletics federation then invited him for specialised training from which he upgraded to win a world championship gold medal, Olympic silver and Commonwealth Games gold.
Women’s 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech echoed Yego’s sentiments. The 27-year-old who laid down a marker with her 8:44.32 in Monaco Diamond League said she would never participate in the CAA Championships again owing to the poor organisation.
“I had never participated and I was apprehensive coming into this one. My fears have been confirmed and there’s no point suffering this much just to honour the championships,” the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist said
Reigning 3,000m steeplechase supremo Conseslus Kipruto and 1,500m world champion Elijah Manangoi also issued quit notices after shocking ordeal in Lagos. The Kenyan athletes, most drawn from Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), National Police Service and Kenya Prisons Service were stopped from booking tickets back to Nairobi and are only staying in the championships owing to strict disciplinary code of their service.