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54 nations ready for 2010 African Championships

By  | 13 July 2010 at 04:44 | 744 views

Over 1,300 athletes and 700 officials from 54 nations are expected to travel to Nairobi for the 17th Senior African Athletics Championship, which will be staged at Nyayo National Stadium from July 28 to August 1.

A local organising committee official disclosed to this press that Kenya, as host, might be the only country to enter at least three athletes in each of the 56 events during the five day championship.

According to Athletics Kenya secretary general David Okeyo, who is also the event’s organising committee’s Chief Executive Officer, Kenya has made a provisional entry of 168 athletes with Nigeria’s quest to strengthen their domination of the championship approved by a high entry of 154.
Benin, who will host the next edition of these championship in 2012, have forwarded a list of 50, Sudan has 80 while Ethiopia are bringing in 86.

"These are just preliminary entry lists. These countries have to get their athletes to qualify for them to get the confirmation and I believe the numbers will not change. More countries are also expected to bring in their names. This is done in all international competitions to help in organisation," said Okeyo.
Asked if Sierra Leone has sent in a list of participants, Mr. Okeyo denied having knowledge of the country’s list at the moment.

Top athletes like Kenya’s 800m runners Pamela Jelimo, Alfred Kirwa Yego and Janeth Jepkosgei, Ezekiel Kemboi, Vivian Cheruiyot, Linet Masai have confirmed they will participate in the event, which will also be used to honour Kenya’s greatest athletes.

Sudan’s sensational 800m prodigy Abubakar Kaki (photo), reigning African 100m champion and record holder at 9.85 seconds and Olusoji Fasuba of Nigeria are among the top athletes expected to compete in the championship.

The event will also be used to pick Africa’s team to the World Cup in Athletics set for Split, Croatia in September.

"By virtue of us using this event to pick the continent’s best to run in Croatia, I can assure you we will have a very strong field of elite runners in Nairobi, "said Okeyo.

The LOC has since declared May 14 as the final date for the preliminary entry confirmation from all the affiliate countries.

The Senior Africa Athletics Championship is the premier event for the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) and is expected to cost Sh400 million in organising and hosting it.

Okeyo also confirmed that out of the 56 events that will be on card, there will be no room for the marathon as is the case with the Olympics or the World Championship.

The event also requires all athletes to secure direct qualification from their national competitions or internationally sanctioned events.

"Everyone has to qualify and even those who ran in Addis Ababa two years ago, they have no short cut," said Okeyo.

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