The start of the African track and field championships in Nigeria has been delayed after hundreds of athletes were stranded at an airport, some for three days when they were left to sleep on the floor as they waited for a connecting flight to the host city.
The Confederation of African Athletics says only a small number of events scheduled for the first day of competition in Asaba in Nigeria”s southern Delta state on Wednesday will go ahead, and they will be moved back from the morning to the afternoon.
The majority of the events scheduled for Day 1 will take place later in the week after the chaos at Lagos” international airport.
The CAA said there had been “organizing problems.”
Moroccan high jumper Rhizlane Siba, the 2014 African champion, said she and her teammates were stuck in Lagos for three days waiting for a flight and were given little help. She said “we haven”t trained for three days, and we haven”t eaten properly in two days.” Siba said they spent one night at a hotel, but the rest of the time at the airport.
Pictures posted on social media showed some of Africa”s top athletes sleeping on the airport floor surrounded by their luggage.
The stranded athletes also included South Africa”s Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya and long jump world champion Luvo Manyonga. The South African team also spent three days in Lagos.
Members of Kenya”s team were stranded for 48 hours and were threatening to quit the championships and go home before they finally all reached Asaba on Wednesday.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe is in Nigeria for the event, which was initially meant to be held in Lagos but was moved to Asaba.