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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Cote d’Ivoire to host 2019 Africa U-20 athletics championships   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) has chosen Abidjan to stage next year’s Under-20 Championships. Speaking to Xinhua, CAA President Hamad Malboum Kalbaba talked up the hosting potential of Cote d’Ivoire’s largest city.

“We chose Cote d’Ivoire, because Ivorian athletics has a history. We are convinced that the potential lies there. Cote d’Ivoire can organize such a competition. The country has hosted the Francophone games in Abidjan. For us, this is a way to express our gratitude to the Ivorian government,” Kalkaba said on Sunday.

Kalkaba, who met with Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister of Sports Danho Paulin and the country’s National Olympic Committee President Lassana Palenfo, said the continental body is impressed with the preparations being done by Cote d’Ivoire.

Hosting the junior athletics championships will, according to Kalkaba, help spur the growth of the sport in the football-mad country.

“We are asking the Ivorian Athletics Federation to look for talents in rural areas and schools. It is in these places that true champions of tomorrow are hidden. All young people must be given the opportunity to put their skills to the test,” said Kalkaba.

During the last African Youth Championships in Reduit, Mauritius, participants from 27 countries took part in, with Kenya dominating the middle- and long-distance races, while South Africa led the way in the sprints and field events.

However, that dominance will likely be put to test, with top performances expected from hosts Cote d’Ivoire, as well as Nigeria, Cameroon and Ethiopia.

The CAA will also hold its general assembly in Abidjan, where new officials will be elected ahead of the championships.

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