Various sports leaders have expressed their approval of the postponement of the 13th edition of the All-Africa Games, which was due to take place in August 2023 in Ghana, as it will provide them with more time to prepare for the event in 2024.
The continental showpiece was scheduled to be held in three cities – but after a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, involving all stakeholders last week, it was decided the competition should be postponed due to the unpreparedness of the host.
Leonard Martin, the technical director of the Namibia Karate Federation, welcomed the postponement, noting it would give Namibian athletes enough time to prepare for the games.
“For me, it’s a good thing that it was postponed to next year because it will give our athletes enough time to prepare for the much-anticipated games, which will now be held in 2024. As a federation, we will have to work hard to ensure we are ready when the time comes,” said Martin.
However, he expressed concern that the delay could harm the image of the event.
“On the other hand, postponing the event that was awarded to the host four years ago does not give a good impression to the world. However, I understand the reasons behind the decision.”
Meanwhile, Michael Hamukwaya, the secretary general of the Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC), expressed that the postponement of the games for able-bodied athletes is a significant setback.
“I understand that these measures were beyond their control. However, for para-athletes, the show will go on from the 3rd to the 11th of September,” he said.
Freddy Mwiya, chief administrator at the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), also endorsed the decision to delay the competition, noting that lack of preparation ahead of significant events has been a perennial issue in Namibia.
“I believe changing the dates was a good idea, as it will give us sufficient time to prepare. In the past, we have always faced challenges with preparations due to inadequate time, but at least now we have enough time to get ready for this upcoming competition,” he said.
Mwiya encouraged athletes and teams to continue with their preparations despite the date change, stating that the extra time would allow them to train and be ready when the time comes.
Deputy chief operating officer of the Ghana Organising Committee Dr Kweku Ofosu Asare was quoted as saying by Inside the Games: “The country could not be blamed for the delay in the completion of the facilities for the event, as they were doing everything possible to ensure that Ghana served the entire continent with a spectacle”.
The build-up to the Games has been overshadowed by an economic crisis that is currently affecting Ghana, although inflation did drop for the first time in almost two years in January, down to 53.6%.
Former Ghana President John Mahama has led calls for the cancellation of the event, although Ofosu Asare has claimed in response it will cost Ghana just as much not to host the Games as it will to stage them.