Namibian athletes left stranded in Nigeria…spend two days at the airport
Otniel Hembapu WINDHOEK – A nine-member delegation of Namibian athletes and coaching staff, scheduled to represent the country at the African Senior Athletics Championships that got underway in Nigeria late yesterday, was humiliated, exposed and distraughtly left stranded for two days at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. Eight Namibian athletes and Team Manager Mathew John were forced to spend two days at the airport after the Nigerian athletics authorities, which were responsible for catering accommodation and transport to participating countries, failed to secure a flight for Team Namibia to the city of Asaba, where the games are taking place. The games were initially scheduled to start yesterday morning but the opening ceremony had to be shifted to yesterday evening as most of the participating countries were still stranded in Lagos, struggling to make their way to Asaba for participation. Besides the Namibian delegation, more than a hundred athletes are said to have also endured the same humiliation as participants from Cameroon, Benin, Burkina Faso and southern African neighbours Botswana were also among athletes shipwrecked at the Murtala Muhammed Airport. According to Athletics Namibia (AN) secretary-general Madeleine Kotze, who narrated the degrading ordeal to New Era Sport late yesterday, the athletes and their manager John were forced to camp for two days at the airport, wandering around from Monday and Tuesday until late yesterday when the Nigerian authorities finally managed to connect them to Asaba. The Namibian team consists of some of the country’s top athletes, led by leading sprinters Tjipee Herunga, Ernst Narib, Even Tjiviju, Roger Haitengi and Mohammad Bock to mention a few of the athletes that will be in action at the continental athletics showpiece. “I have been in constant communication with our team manager John and after those two bad days spend at the Airport in Lagos, today (yesterday) he confirmed that they have finally made their way to Asaba for the games and that all our athletes were safe and sound with him. The problem was caused by our Nigerian counterparts, who only availed a small 70-seater plane to transport participating countries from Lagos to Asaba and since the participating athletes all mostly arrived around the same times, there was a serious shortage of planes to connect the athletes to Asaba and that resulted in chaos. It is very regrettable and a very unwanted experience for our athletes, I hope it will not affect them psychologically as they still have to do the country proud,” narrated a disappointed Kotze. The championships, held under the auspices of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), is held biennially on even years.
New Era Reporter
2018-08-02 10:20:06 6 months ago