The head of African athletics says the continent will bid to host the 2025 World Championships. Africa has never staged the biennial event, which started in 1983, despite being home to many world champions.
Hamad Kalkaba Malboum says he believes a bid is set to come from one of six African nations, adding, “We are talking with Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco – those countries have the facilities.”
“The Camerounian added: “People said Africa could not host the World Cup in football, but we did it very successfully. I have very positive sounds from some of them.
Morocco is the only African country to have staged a leg of the Diamond League, the annual athletics series, which runs from May to September around the world.
The Moroccan city Casablanca was also the last in Africa to try to stage the World Championships, having bid unsuccessfully for the 2011 event.
The president of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) pointed to recent successes with March’s World Cross Country Championships in Uganda and July’s World U18 Championships in Kenya as reasons to be hopeful.
Kalkaba, who took charge of the CAA in 2003, said the president of athletics’ governing body – the IAAF – backs the idea.
“President Coe is supporting the fact that Africa could host the World Championships,” said the 66-year-old, an IAAF vice-president himself.
With the 2019 and 2021 events having been awarded to Qatar and the United States respectively, the next available championship to bid for is 2023.
Yet Kalkaba, who has been in talks with political leaders, including Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, believes this is too early for the continent.
He said Africa has never previously staged the biennial competition because athletics was less popular than football and also “because we are facing many other social problems – health, education, building roads or railways – political leaders are sometimes afraid of spending a lot of money on hosting an event.
“But I think many now realise that (staging the championships) could put the nation on the world map in terms of publicity and promote tourism so there is a benefit from hosting the event. This was not the case in the past.”
A decision on who will stage the 2025 finals is set to be taken in 2020.