Top Athletes Slam Chaotic African Athletics Championships – Threaten Boycott!

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– Letsile Tebogo criticizes African Athletics Championships.

– Event began in Douala, Cameroon.

– Complaints about poor treatment and disorganization.

– Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith first voiced concerns.

It was raininng drama at the ongoing 23rd African Athletics Championships in Douala, Cameroon following the decision by some high profile African sprinters not to show up for their respective semi final heats in the women’s 100m and Lestile Tebogo false-starting in the men’s 100m and getting disqualified.

The Nigerian duo of Favour Ofili and Rosemary Chukwuma failed to file out for their semi final heats while 2018 champion, Marie Jose Ta Lou-Smith also did not start.

In their absence, the coast seems very clear for defending champion, Gina Bass of The Gambia to defend the title she first won two years ago in Mauritius.

She will have Nigeria’s Olayinka Olajide whom she defeated at the African Games in March to contend with in the final.

For the men, Tebogo, the pre-race favorite was disqualified for false-starting while Nigeria’s Kanyinsola Ajayi sped to his first African Championships 100m final.

He finished second in the race behind Cote d’Ivoire’s Ismael Kone who won in 10.03 seconds.

Letsile Tebogo Threatens to Boycott 

Botswana sprinter Letsile Tebogo has become the second high-profile athlete to voice his frustrations over the chaotic organization of the African Athletics Championships. 

The continental event, which commenced in Douala, Cameroon on Friday, has been marred by controversies and complaints from athletes about poor treatment, disorganization, and favoritism.

Africa’s fastest woman, Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith, was the first to go public with her grievances, criticizing the inadequate transport arrangements that she and her team were subjected to. In a series of tweets, Ta Lou-Smith detailed her disappointment, stating, “My team had to take a yango (taxi) to the stadium because the transportation was terrible. I am hurt and disappointed. There is so much I wanted to say about the organization of the African championship.” Her posts highlighted the extent of the logistical issues athletes have faced, from unreliable transportation to poor communication regarding event schedules.

Tebogo, following Ta Lou-Smith’s lead, has now joined the chorus of criticism, even threatening to withdraw from the final if significant improvements are not made. “We’ll see about the final because there’s a lot of disorganized stuff. Maybe I’m going to run, or maybe I’m not going to run,” Tebogo said, expressing his frustration with the event’s management. “You do a warm-up, then you stay for an hour to be called. We know that time is money in athletics. You can’t do a warm-up, sit, and then be called.”

The world 100m silver medalist emphasized the importance of efficient organization in athletics, particularly given the high stakes for many competitors. “That’s why I didn’t even run because I’m looking at the Olympics, not the African Games,” Tebogo explained, indicating his focus on preparing for the upcoming Paris Olympics. He called on the organizers to take immediate action to rectify the issues, warning that the event risked becoming a circus if the current state of disarray continued. “They should at least, I don’t know if it’s to call the association president to come out and help the athletes. That’s all,” he added.

Many athletes view the event as a critical step in their preparation for the Olympics, making the current issues particularly concerning. “The semifinal I’m gonna run, but maybe I won’t run the final if the same thing happens today,” Tebogo concluded, highlighting his conditional participation based on the potential improvements made by the organizers.

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