As a prelude to the 6th edition of the African cross-country championship scheduled for April 8 in Togo, Agopomé Kodjovi Raphael, member of the local organizing committee, is very confident.
How is Togo preparing for the event?
The event consists of two parts. There is the CAA Council meeting which will take place on April 6 and 7. In this regard, the CAA president, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum paid a visit to Togo from January 19 to 22, 2020. He had a meeting with the Minister of Sport, the Prime Minister and Head of Government and the President of the Republic of Togo. This is to reassure you that Togo is preparing in an exceptional way to welcome the elite of African athletics.
Do you have the necessary means to welcome all participants?
Yes. I can reassure you about this. For the organization of this cross-country, the Confederation of African Athletics has decided to support the organizing country with a grant of 50,000 dollars. With the reputation of my country to be good organizer, the government has decided to put at the disposal of the organization an amount which is almost 10 times what CAA gave. (Editor's note: we can estimate it to CFA francs 250, 000,000). This means that there is a national will embodied by the President of the Republic, Faure Eyadema to make this event an exceptional moment.
Is the Togolese Federation able to meet all expectations...?
I can say yes. But this is not only a matter for the Togolese Federation. Togo being aware of the fact that the organization of this competition is a very important event which will see the presence of CAA and World Athletics’ authorities, has taken up the challenge to host this continental competition in Togolese dignity and tradition. All members of CAA, World Athletics and those involved in African athletics will be warmly welcomed. The federation will be 100% ready.
Will Togo be represented, and how are the athletes preparing?
Indeed, Togo will be represented. Sure, our country is not a country used to winning the African cross country championships but we want to be part of this competition with dignity. This is why Togo has decided since December to regroup athletes who will participate in this competition. They started training to better approach this competition.
Who are these athletes?
There is Moise Ba Kombaté, a regular in all middle and long distance races in the sub-region. He has several times won the middle distance tournament in Burkina Faso, Dakar and even in Côte d'Ivoire. In women, there will be Maiza Alimine who won three times the Dakar marathon. Besides, there will be other athletes selected by the National Technical Director (Dtn). They will all be at the Lomé African Athletic Development Center for preparation.
Will the elections in Togo not have an impact on competition?
No. Because at the beginning, the competition was scheduled from February 28 to March 1 and taking into account the elections which are scheduled for February 22, 2020, this date was postponed to April 6, 7 and 8, 2020. And when the Chief of State was contacted by President Kalkaba, he decided to get involved and invest himself fully for the success of this event. Because it is a gift to the Togolese Youth. You well know that Africans are the best in cross-country worldwide. So what could be more normal than encouraging such initiatives? It is an honor for the Republic of Togo which expects very positive input. The President of the Republic and his people want to offer all African Youth a quality show
How is mobilization done?
The President of the Republic himself solemnly appealed to all Togolese people to come massively to this competition.
By Anicet Zio