As African athletes test their skills on running tracks here over the next five days, legendary Kenyan star Kipchoge Keino has called for the promotion of sports education and the use of sport competitions to foster the unity of African peoples and nations.
“There are no boundaries in sports. When one wins an event, we all joyfully shake hands,” Keino told PANA as athletes and sports officials from 47 African countries warmed up for the 16th African Athletics Championship (AAC), opening here late Wednesday.
Encouraging all young athletes to strive for victory, Keino called on African governments to budget for sports development.
“We have a lot of potential material in schools. Ministries responsible for education, sports and gender issues need to tap on this potential and provide coaches to train young people so that Africa can keep on shining in the sports world.
“If rural schools were given the opportunity and sporting facilities, Africa would produce many world famous sportsmen and sportswomen,” added 72-year-old Keino.
Legendary stars who have arrived in Addis Ababa, for the biennial event include Namibian sprint king Frankie Fredericks and Senegalese 400m runner Amy Mbacke Thiam.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Jean Ping, CAA President Hamad Kalkaba Malboum and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack are expected to grace the official opening of the championship at Addis Ababa Stadium.
Other dignitaries at the ceremony will include IAAF Senior Vice President Sergey Bubka and Vice President Dahlan Al Hamad, European Athletics Association (EAA) President Hansjorg Wirz, North American and Caribbean Athletics Confederation (NACAC) President Teddy McCook. Panapress .