NAIROBI — The rescheduled African Championships in Algiers will serve as the qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) President Hamad Malboum Kalkaba said on Saturday that with the Olympics pushed back by a year, the African Championships will serve as the best ground for the qualification process for the Tokyo Games.
Kalkaba noted that both Lome (Togo) and Algiers (Algeria) will retain the hosting rights for the Africa Cross-Country Championships and the Africa senior Athletics Championships, which were postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CAA said it had already signed contractual agreements with the two host countries for Africa’s premier track and cross-country competitions, even after the postponement of the two events to 2021.
“Lome keeps the organization of the African Cross Country Championship which will now take place in March 2021 while Algiers retains the organization of the African Nations Championships that will serve as the qualifier for the Olympics, now that World Athletics has pushed the qualifying deadline for the Tokyo Games to June 29 next year,” said Kalkaba.
Kalkaba, however, said it was not the CAA’s responsibility to announce the precise dates for the African Championships, and will have to discuss the issue with Algerian authorities once the current control measures are eased.
“The African Championships will probably take place one month before the Olympic Games to allow those who seek qualification to do so,” Kalkaba said.
However, the CAA noted that it remains a difficult time for African track athletes owing to the effects of the pandemic.
“It is clear that we are at half-half, we have almost no activities and we must naturally comply with the arrangements that the governments of the various CAA member countries have taken to deal with this COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We are no longer able to organize competitions at a global level or in Africa. This is a difficult time for African athletes,” said the CAA president.