The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) said the tight schedule of competition in 2021 will require athletes such as Gambia’s Gina Bass to be at their best fitness to excel since the coronavirus has forced the postponement or cancellation of sports action.
CAA president Hamad Malboum Kalkaba hoped athletes to observe health guidelines by their governments and continue training despite the challenges brought about by the virus spread.
“In consultation with organizers and members of the CAA board, we agreed to postpone until May 2021 the Senior Africa Championships scheduled in Algiers,” said Kalkaba.
The Africa Championships, which was designed to be part of the qualification to the Tokyo Olympics, will still be able to serve the same purpose as the Games was also postponed.
“We encourage athletes to respect the recommendations and hygiene measures of their respective governments to defeat this virus. But whenever possible continue to prepare and train,” he added.
CAA has also postponed the Africa Cross Country Championships from this year to 2021 in Lome, Togo.
It means besides the two events, Africa athletes will also have to plan for the Africa Junior Championships, World Indoor Tour, World Indoor Championships, World Cross Country Championships, the Diamond League, World Athletics Continental Tour between April and June, as well as Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games.
According to Athletics Kenya vice president Paul Mutwii, who is in charge of competitions, this will make it hard for any athlete to double in major competition.
“The events are closely following each other. Many of those events in 2020 have been moved to 2021 almost similar time. It will require a lot of strategic planning and discipline for the athletes not to wear out and perform at their optimum best,” Mutwii said in Nairobi.
The CAA last month held an International Technical Officials (ITO) seminar on strategies for the organization of a competition for athletics in Dakar, Senegal.
The goal of training is to upgrade the officers on the rules and guidelines of competition. The seminar also focused on the strengthening the capacity of African officials for the upcoming World Athletics ITO assessment to be held in 2021 and improving the organization of African competitions.
The countries represented were South Africa, Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.