After nearly two decades of endless wait, the city of Asaba was buzzing on Wednesday as a new chapter was opened in the history of sports in Delta State and Nigeria as whole as the newly built Stephen Keshi stadium hosted its first meet, the Africa tour event.
The historic day started with a short prayer led by clergy men from the Government House Chapel.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was represented by his deputy, Kingsley Otuaro who was ushered into the stadium by the chairman of the Local Organising Committee for CAA Asaba 2018, Chief Solomon Ogba and the Executive Chairman of the Delta State Sports Council, Tony Okowa.
Deltans came out in their hundreds to witness history from the young to the old, men, women from different works of life as well as traditional rulers were all present to add glamour to Wednesday’s Africa tour meet.
Aside 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.
The governor expressed delight that the Stephen Keshi stadium became a reality in his tenure; adding that it is a delight to have fulfilled one of his campaign promises to the people of Delta.
CAA Asaba 2018, LOC chairman Solomon Ogba said he was proud to be part of history while also thanking all that worked tirelessly to make the Stephen Keshi Stadium a reality.
Meanwhile, in the Africa tour event used as a test run for upcoming Africa Senior Athletics Championships, 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 war horse 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 wining 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%, we will correct the few mistakes we saw but all said and done we are ready to host Africa in August,” Alli assured.
The 21st African senior Athletics Championships will be taking place August 1-5 at the Stephen Keshi stadium.