Nigeria withdraws as host of African Athletics Championships

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Nigeria has backtracked on its decision to host the 2021 Athletics Championships over COVID-19 fears.

The presidential steering committee (PSC), in response to a request by the ministry of sports, cited the risk of importation of new COVID-19 strains into the country.

“The increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in certain countries coupled with widespread prevalence of mutant strains of the virus outside Nigeria, which poses the risk of importation of these mutant strains,” the PSC said.

“Recent re-institutionalisation of enforcement of the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations in the country due to increasing non-adherence by the public of non pharmaceutical interventions and other COVID-19 protocols

“Delay in vaccinating a large proportion of the citizenry due to a shortage in global supply of vaccines, which translates to a risk of another wave of infections in the country.”

Assad Hassan, deputy head of technical secretariat, who signed the letter on behalf of the secretary to the government of the federation/chairman of committee, said “it is the considered opinion of the PSC that hosting the 2021 edition of the African Athletics Championships at this time will constitute a threat to the gains that have been made by the national response in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The 22nd edition was originally meant to be held in Algeria, but after three postponements, Nigeria stepped him in May to have it in Lagos.

The development has dented the hope of some African athletes who intend to use the championships as an avenue to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

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