Okagbare, Dibaba, other great African athletes to be inducted into Hall of Fame; volunteers, groundsmen undergo training, screening

With the countdown to the athletics fiesta tagged Asaba 2018, Nigeria’s queen of the track, Blessing Okagbare and other members of Team Nigeria’s 4×200 quartet that won gold at the 2016 IAAF World Relay in the Bahamas will be inducted into the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Hall of Fame.

This accolade will be bestowed at the Welcome Dinner for athletes and officials participating at the 21st African Athletics Championships, Asaba 2018.

The event, organized by CAA and Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency is slated for 5 pm on July 31 at the Event Center, Asaba.

The State Governor His Excellency Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, IAAF President Sebastian Coe, CAA President and members of his executive committee, top government officials at Federal and State levels, diplomats and the LOC led by its Chairman, Solomon Ogba will grace the occasion.

Other members of the team that will be inducted into the Hall of Fame are Dominique Duncan, Regina George and Christy Udoh.

Besides Nigeria’s golden girls, Olusoji Fasuba and Tosin Oke are two other Nigerians that will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

But it’s not going to be an all Nigerian affair; Olympics and World Champion Tirunesh Dibaba from Ethiopia will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, ditto her compatriot Mesert Defar who has also won medals at the Olympics and the World Championships.

Other Ethiopians on the list include Genzebe Dibaba, a world record holder and champion, Almaz Ayana an Olympics and World Champion and Kenenisa Bekele, a legend in long distance, road races and marathon and world record holder.

South Africa’s duo of Caster Semenya and Wayde van Niekerk both Olympics and World Champions will be inducted.

Also on the list are Kenyan trio of Vivian Cheruiyot, the king of 800m David Rudisha and Ezekiel Kemboi.

Meanwhile, the Security subcommittee for the 21st African Senior Athletics Championships has begun background and security checks on volunteers that have indicated interest to be part of CAA Asaba 2018.

The Security Chief for CAA Asaba 2018, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama (Rtd) revealed that over 3,000 individuals were present to undergo the preliminary stage of the screening process on Monday.

He revealed that background and security checks are being carried out on the intending volunteers as his committee is out to select capable hands that would further help in the planned world-class August event.

“The screening for the volunteers commenced today, (Monday, 16/7/2018) over 3,000 are being screened and the makeup is all-encompassing across the state, across the country and some civil servants,” Nesiama said in a statement issued by Olukayode Thomas, Head Media, and Publicity.

No cap has been put on the number of volunteers to be selected though it is understood that at least a thousand will be required to join forces with the officials to make a success of the Asaba 2018 championships

“Yes, we were prepared for the large turnout, but I was a bit surprised also because people are ready and willing to do true volunteering in the real sense of it; the people who have indicated interest are genuinely ready to work not for any personal gain but to contribute their quota to this historic event,” Neisiama added.

It is understood that the volunteers will be working in different areas as some will be assisting the Technical committee, some would be in protocol/ushering and a lot of them will be attached to the teams as attaches.

In the same vein, there was also a training exercise on Monday for groundsmen that would be in charge of the Wednesday’s African tour event as well as the African championships proper.

The training exercise was supervised by Yussuf Alli, the technical head for CAA Asaba 2018.

The 21st African Senior Athletics Championship will be taking place at the newly-built Stephen Keshi Stadium which many have described as a world-class edifice.

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