'My health is at risk'- South African sprinter laments over poor organisation at African Championships

'My health is at risk'- South African sprinter laments over poor organisation at African Championships

Abigael Wafula 13:00 - 22.06.2024

South Africa's US-based sprinter has joined Ta-Lou-Smith and Tebogo in lamenting over the poor organisation of the African Championships, explaining that his health was at risk, forcing him to exit the event.

South Africa’s US-based sprinter Shaun Maswanganyi has joined Africa’s fastest woman Marie Josée Ta Lou-Smith and world 100m silver medallist Letsile Tebogo in lamenting over the poor state of affairs at the African Championships in Doula, Cameroon.

The South African sprint sensation took to his social media, X (Twitter) handle, to explain that he feared for his health owing to the poor conditions’ athletes were put in. Just like Ta Lou Smith, Maswanganyi explained that transport has been an issue, forcing him to prematurely exit from the meet.

He slammed the organisers for doing the bare minimum, explaining that as athletes, they are usually forced to perform in the toughest conditions but organisers are never at fault in case anything happens. He shared a video of an official using wooden clappers to start a race, explaining that oganisers opted to switch from using the gun since athletes could not hear.

“Long story short, the organisation of the whole meet (African Champs) is absolutely dismal, to say the least. We, as athletes, are constantly told to ‘do as the Romans do’ and are expected to perform in the harshest conditions. If nothing changes, I’ll be in Houston by Saturday.

“I wish I were exaggerating when I say my health is at risk, as there is hardly any accommodation for my allergies. I can only imagine what other athletes are experiencing, from sharing beds to food-related problems. Additionally, transport has been a significant issue.

“That being said, I booked my flight this morning, and I’m currently typing this at the airport. I vlogged the whole meet, so I’ll be posting on my YouTube channel soon. If we don’t look out for ourselves as athletes, no one else will. Fin,” he said.

Tebogo and Ta Lou-Smith had earlier complained about the same, with the former threatening to boycott the finals of the race if nothing is done to accommodate the athletes.

“We’ll see about the final because there’s a lot of disorganised stuff. So maybe I’m not going to run, maybe I’ll run because you warm up, you stay one hour to be cold [for the start of the race] but we know that time is money in athletics — we can’t warm up, sit and then be cold [when] we get to run,” Tebogo said.

Meanwhile, Ta Lou-Smith said: “There is so much things I wanted to say about the organization of the African championship. I am hurt and disappointed!!!

“My team have to take a yango (taxi) to go to the stadium because the transportation sucks!!! Coming here I had so much expectation!!! So much!!! If we want think to change, we need to do better!!! We have now some high level of athletes."