After nearly two decades of an endless wait, the city of Asaba on Wednesday had a feel of top-class athletics action as the newly built Stephen Keshi stadium hosted its first meet, the African tour event.
The governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, was represented at the event by his deputy, Kingsley Otuaro, who was flanked by the chairman of the Local Organising Committee for CAA Asaba 2018, Solomon Ogba, and the Executive Chairman of the Delta State Sports Council, Tony Okowa.
Aside from the action on the tracks, it was a day of glamour as the rich culture of Delta was on display to serve a glimpse of what to expect during the African championships proper.
Divine Oduduru won the 100m with a time of 10.44s while the duo of Ogho-Oghene Egwero (10.46) and Enoch Adegoke (10.52) settled for second and third respectively.
After her heroics at the Commonwealth Games, Joy Udo Gabriel continued her fine run; winning the winning the women’s 100m event ahead of Matthew Ubong and Blessing Ogundinmu.
In the men’s 400m, old warhorse Isa Salihu was the top man with a time of 46.70s while the duo of Orukpe Erayoikan and Achimaya Daniel finished second and third respectively.
In women’s one-lap race, Patience Okon was the top athlete winning with a time of 51.49s
Yussuf Alli, the Technical Director for CAA Asaba 2018, said he was delighted with the test event though he admitted that one or two areas will be improved upon.
“I can rate the Africa tour test event at 80 per cent. We will correct the few mistakes we saw but all said and done we are ready to host Africa in August” Mr Alli assured.
On his part, Mr Ogba said he was proud to be part of history while also thanking everyone that worked tirelessly to make the Stephen Keshi stadium a reality.
The 21st African senior athletics championships will take place from August 1 to 5 at the Stephen Keshi stadium.