'I want to cry' - Africa's fastest woman fumes over poor treatment at African Championships

Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith

'I want to cry' - Africa's fastest woman fumes over poor treatment at African Championships

Joel Omotto 19:00 - 21.06.2024

The Ivorian sprinter hit out at organisers of the African Championships over what she felt was discrimination that led to chaotic travel arrangements for her in Doula, Cameroon.

Africa’s fastest woman Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith has expressed her disappointment at the poor treatment she has been subjected to, alongside her team, at the Africa Athletics Championships.

Ta Lou-Smith fumed at the chaotic travel arrangements for athletes at the event, which started on Friday in Doula, Cameroon, saying she had to hire a taxi to the stadium when other athletes had been escorted by security personnel to the venue.

“My team have to take a yango (taxi) to go to the stadium because the transportation sucks,” Ta Lou-Smith posted on social media in a series of tweets complaining about the situation.

“I am hurt and disappointed. There is so much I wanted to say about the organisation of the African championship.”

The sprinter says she expected a better treatment in Cameroon but what she has witnessed left a bitter taste as she feels other athletes have been handled differently.

“Coming here I had so much expectation! So much!!! If we want things to change, we need to do better. We have now some high-level athletes," she added.

“I want to cry because why? And on top of that, we on the taxi we see another African team with a police escort. Like why not do it for everybody?”

The social media meltdown from the four-time African champion brings to the fore the chaotic nature of the continental event which has been met with complaints of poor organisation even at previous editions.

Ta Lou-Smith, who last won African gold in 2018 in both 100m and 200m, clocked a season’s best 22.36 to finish second in 200m at the Oslo Diamond League early this month, after a time of 11.05 in the 100m at the Prefontaine Classic, the Eugene Diamond League, where she managed sixth place.

She confirmed after second place in 100m in a slower time of 11.16 at the Stockholm Diamond League that she has been dealing with a leg injury and promised to work with her coach to find the best possible solution.

The 35-year-old is among the star athletes at the African Championships in what is her fifth appearance at the event.