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Botswana athletes in visa hitch, as Warri Relays/CAA Grand Prix holds in Ozoro


Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain (right) crosses the line ahead of Amantle Montsho of Botswana (centre) and Francena McCorory of the United States to win gold in the Women’s 400 metres final during at the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 at Luzhniki Stadium. Montsho is one of the high profile stars coming for the Warri Relays/CAA Grand Prix…on July 18.

• Okagbare returns from Rabat today

Botswana’s star-studded team were delayed at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos yesterday on its way to Delta State for the 2017 edition of Warri Relays/CAA Grand Prix, which holds today at the Delta State Polytechnic Stadium, Ozoro. Over 200 athletes from different parts of Africa are attending the one-day event.

The Guardian learnt that the team from Botswana was ‘denied’ entry into the country by Immigration Officers because the athletes and their officials arrive without visas.

“We have been told to pay for their visa fees,” immediate past President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba told The Guardian. “As soon as we sorts it out, the team will be airlifted into Asaba, and they will travel by road to Ozoro.”

Ogba also revealed yesterday that Nigeria’s speed queen, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, would be part of the competition today. “Okagbare actually arrived in the country last week, but she had to travel to Rabat, Morocco for a competition. She will return tomorrow (today) by 10am, and she will be part of the event.”

Also on ground for Team Nigeria for the event is United States-based Tobi Amusan, who was the toast of athletics fans from neighbouring towns like Warri, Sapele, Ugheli and Oleh to watch the athletes in training yesterday.

Meanwhile, Media Coordinator for 2017 Warri Relays & CAA Grand Prix, Olukayode Thomas said yesterday that the championship would be an exciting athletics meeting.
“Yes, we are on track to stage another exciting athletics meet. We thank the Delta State Government and of course Solid Works for making this happen. The facilities at the Delta State Polytechnic Stadium, Ozoro, are all in decent shape and that should aid better performance by the competing athletes.

“Outside the elite cast of athletes that will be on parade, the High School, and Inter-Collegiate Category will also be part of the competition. Students from various schools were seen perfecting their strategies for the Warri Relays &CAA Grand Prix.”

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