The situation of athletics in these times of pandemic, the decisions of the last CAA Council, the African Athletics Development centers (AADC), the second development plan, the continental circuit of competitions, the African cross-country championships and the senior African championships were the highlights of the video-conference press conference on Monday, September 21, 2020, chaired by the CAA Director General, Lamine FATY and the technical Director, Aziz Daouda.
Coming back to the CAA council meeting on September 9, FATY said he was "satisfied" with this meeting after the meeting on May 16 with 15 members present and 05 absent with apologies. ‘’ The council has notably maintained the programming of our two major championships scheduled in 2020 for next year. The African cross country championship will take place at the end of February / mid-March 2021 in Lomé, Togo while the senior athletics championships will take place in Algiers in June 2021 '' added the CAA CEO, stressing that '' the precise dates will be decided later with the organizing federations''.
Mr. FATY reported on the continuation of the CAA African meetings circuit program with seven (07) stages even if those of Nigeria and South Africa are not yet confirmed. `` The CAA will ensure that this circuit takes place with its seven stages just like the meeting in Gaborone in Botswana in April 2021, '' he said, wishing for an improvement of the situation in relation to the covid-19 pandemic and a gradual resumption of regional and national championships.
`` Despite the confinement situation and inadequate preparation, we were pleasantly surprised by the performances of our athletes during the meetings in Monaco and Stockholm and we hope that they will do even better in the competitions to come ' 'said FATY.
For his part, the Technical Director of the CAA, Mr. Daouda indicated that “during this period of confinement, the confederation was very active by organizing about thirty sessions with more than 50 participants for each. He cited as example the seminar on women's athletics which brought together more than 65 women.
Mr. Daouda also returned to the CAA strategy based on development plans. '' In Abidjan during our congress, all the members declared themselves satisfied with our first ten-year plan which expired in 2017, '' he said, stressing that the CAA competitions experienced a clear progress in terms of enthusiasm and the number of participants. `` In the past we would organize championships with three or four countries, but we recorded at the last All Africa Games in Rabat the presence of 52 countries, while the numbers have also increased considerably '' noted the Technical Director who recognizes the difficulty of organizing cross-country championships because "it is a discipline that is not practiced in all African countries".
'' To encourage mass participation, CAA has introduced the U18 category for the African Cross Country Championships in Lomé where more than 300 participants of this age will be on the starting block '' he said by underlining the will of the confederation to popularize this discipline considered as "an entry to athletics".
Specifics of the field
Mr. Daouda will also say that the CAA strategy takes into account the specificities of our continent and does its best to make its vision heard for the benefit of our athletes who are the only ones to be present in competitions around the world at up to 30% and are also among the world's best results.
He detailed that the current development plan of the confederation has been split into two periods of five years each which will soon be adopted by the council, stressing that `` this plan is based on four fundamental aspects in our opinion '': realism, flexibility, efficiency and consideration.
Explaining these four key words, he will say that the CAA adapts to the reality on the ground of the national federations. The brand image of our discipline, which unfortunately does not make all of its athletes live on it except for a few great champions, is everyone's mission by the media and television. “We as a confederation must work together with world athletics to safeguard and keep all middle distance events on the program of meetings. The 5,000m and 10,000m races are "African" events and with the relays, they are more spectacular than many others.
The Technical Director noted with satisfaction the good job being done at the level of African preparation and training centers. As proof, he raised the performances of their athletes in international competitions.
Finally the CAA CEO welcomed this press conference and thanked the participants while regretting that many journalists were unable to access the platform due to technical difficulties. ‘’We will repeat this experience very soon," he concluded.
The communications officer Mr. Mohamed Zemmour took an active part in this conference with other African journalists including Mr. Oumar Ba, media manager of the CAA and Ms. Alice Annibali in charge of public relations at the World Athletics communication department. Mr. Zemmour assured that "the preparations for the African Championships in 2021 in Algiers are going well, especially with the renovation of the annex stadium which will be furnished with a new track".
Mohamed Zemmour (FAA) for the CAA.