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African Athletics Championships In Cameroon Marred By Shortcomings



Under fire from critics, Cameroon has just organised its second African senior athletics championship which took place in the virtually empty Japoma Stadium in Douala.

Nearly 800 athletes from all over the continent took part in this 23rd edition of the competition which, despite difficulties at the start, was a ticket to the Paris Olympics.

“We know that the African championships were relocated from the first stadium. And frankly it was very hard for us to compete,” says Algeria’s Medhi Amar Rouana, who came third in pole vaulting.

“There were holes and the track wasn’t completely straight. But we were all in the same condition, so you had to fight,” he says.

While athletes complained about the quality of some of the facilities, this did not demoralise the Ivorian and Ugandan athletes who won gold medals in their disciplines.

“This is the first time I’ve taken part in the African senior championships and I’m very happy to win the gold medal. I was really prepared for this,” says Loice Chekwemoi from Uganda, who won the 3,000m race.

A feeling echoed by Jessica Lauren Maca of the Ivory Coast, who is now 200m champion.

“It was really difficult, but I told myself that everyone is in the same situation, so all I knew is that I wanted to come first.”

It wasn’t until the last two days that the authorities mobilised to provide free transport for locals wanting to watch the competition.

South Africa finished first with 19 medals, followed by Nigeria with 15, and Ethiopia with 10.

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The next edition of the competition will be held in Ghana in 2026.

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