- Caster Semenya and Luvo Manyonga were among hundreds of athletes who were stranded at an airport in Lagos, Nigeria after flights were cancelled
- Some unlucky athletes had to sleep in the airport after being stranded for up to three days
- The athletes were headed to Asaba for the African Track and Field Championship
South Africa’s golden girl of the track Caster Semenya and world champion long jumper Luvo Manyonga were among hundreds of athletes who were left stranded at Lagos International Airport in Nigeria.
The two South Africans will count themselves as lucky as some of the other athletes had to sleep in the airport after being stranded for up to three days.
The athletes were headed to the southern Nigerian city of Asaba to take part in the African Track and Field Championship. The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) said it had experienced organisational programs which led to flight cancellations and severe delays.
Briefly.co.za gathered that picture of the chaos have been posted to social media and show athletes, coaches and other officials sleeping on the floor of Lagos International Airport.
Social media posts seem to indicate that matters are not much better at the venue of the championships. Journalists have complained about inadequate facilities with most journalists having to sit on the floor.
The CAA has confirmed that some of the opening events of the competition have been postponed to allow athletes, coaches and other officials to get some rest after arriving at the venue.
Sport24.com reported that members of the Kenyan national team had spent more than two days at the airport in Lagos and had threatened to withdraw from the competition.
Frustrated athletes said they had grown weary of promises from the organisers and said the delay was unacceptable. Some athletes claimed they had not even been able to get decent meals for more than a day.
Nigerian airport officials laid the blame for the chaos squarely at the door of the CAA and the organisers of the event in Asaba and said it was poor planning on their part which caused the delay and had nothing to do with the manner in which Lagos International was operated.
The event’s organising committee has declined to comment and said it would release a press statement at a later stage.
Malawian athletes were reportedly still awaiting visas from Nigerian authorities on Wednesday and the country’s athletics federations said if the document did not arrive by Thursday the team would have to withdraw from the competition.
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