A big water tank at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, venue for the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships, on Thursday collapsed and crushed two cars parked outside the fence of the stadium.
However, no one was injured in the incident.
The water tank, which was mounted on iron stands, was meant to serve the swimming pool, which is still under construction, and some other parts of the stadium.
While the athletes were competing, the tank crashed and destroyed parts of the stadium fence. The iron stands, on which the tank was mounted, tore the bonnet of a Sports Utility Vehicle while parts of the tank fell on another car.
One of the eyewitnesses, Israel Chima, who lives in the street beside the stadium, told our correspondent that the incident occurred around 4.30 pm.
“I was outside the house when I heard a crashing sound. I turned to see what had happened and I saw that the tank had collapsed and water from it flooded everywhere,” he said.
“The contractor did a very bad job because that tank was too heavy for the iron serving as its stands. They needed something stronger to hold such a big tank. Nobody was injured and that is why we are thanking God.”
As of the time of filing this report, no rescue work was ongoing but some workers were seen salvaging what was left of the tank.
President of the Confederation of African Athletics Hamad Malboum and chairman of the LOC for the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships in Asaba, Solomon Ogba, have apologised to countries participating in the competition over the problems witnessed in the transportation of athletes from Lagos to Asaba for the event.
Athletes from various countries were stranded in Lagos for some days, resulting in their late arrival in Asaba for the event which began on Wednesday.
Some of the opening events were suspended due to the development.
At a press conference on Thursday, which was attended by IAAF president Sebastian Coe, Malboum said the problems could not be avoided.
“On the transfer of the athletes from Lagos to Asaba I apologise to the athletes,” the CAA boss said.
“The plan, according to the information available to me, was for the aircraft to leave Lagos for Asaba immediately the athletes arrived. But for some technical reasons – weather and others – the plan failed and the LOC had to seek alternative ways of achieving the goal.”
He added, “We must be tolerant; we must understand the situation and show our commitment and support. Lagos was supposed to host this championship.
When I came for the Access Bank Marathon, I met the governor and we spoke about it. However, when they were supposed to come and collect the flag during the last African Championships in Durban , they didn’t come. We found the solution in Asaba because we wanted to keep the event in Nigeria, and now we have this beautiful stadium.”
Ogba said, “I apologise for the shortcomings that have been experienced at this championship. We are not trying to blame anybody and we accept all shortcomings. Teams were supposed to provide their travel schedules to the LOC two days before arrival but many countries failed to do that and it affected our plans. All athletes are here now and we were able to appeal to the technical committee to adjust the programme to capture every athlete at the event.”