Ta Lou-Smith leads other top athletes to withdraw from African Championships as Tebogo false starts in 100m semifinals

Ta Lou-Smith, Letsile Tebogo, and Favour Ofili

Ta Lou-Smith leads other top athletes to withdraw from African Championships as Tebogo false starts in 100m semifinals

Funmilayo Fameso 11:27 - 23.06.2024

Africa's fastest woman in history Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith led a revolution of top athletes withdrawing from their event at the African Championships in Douala due to poor organisation.

Following the air of frustration by Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith concerning the horrible organisation at the ongoing African Championships in Douala, she has led a revolution of top athletes withdrawing from their events as speed king Letsile Tebogo also false-started in his 100m semifinals.

The fastest woman in African history complained about the poor planning and treatment in Cameroon, as she was forced to take a local taxi with her team amongst many other reasons.

Ivorian sprinter Marie Josee Ta Lou-Smith. Photo: Imago

"There is so much things I wanted to say about the organization of the African championship !!!," wrote Ta Lou-Smith on her X handle in a series of tweets on the poor organisation.

"I am hurt and disappointed!!!," she continued.

"My team have to take a yango ( taxi) to go to the stadium because the transportation sucks !!!"

Letsile Tebogo joins Ta Lou-Smith expressing the poor African Championships organisation

Botswana's world 100m silver medallist Tebogo also joined the veteran sprinter fuming about the sour planning, revealing in an interview with Kenyan journalist Lynne Wachira how they were forced to wait for over an hour after warming up and why he may not run at the championship again.

Letsile Tebogo became Africa's first male 100m medallist at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest

"We'll see about the final because there's a lot of disorganised stuff, so maybe I'm going to run or I'm not going to run," said the African Record holder in the men's 200m event.

"You do warm up, you stay 1 hour to be called, we know that time is money in athletics. You can't do warm-up sit and then be called," added Tebogo.

The elite sprinter who later competed in the 100m semifinals, false started and was disqualified, which has raised doubts on his continous participation at the continental showpiece.

Ta Lou-Smith, Favour Ofili, Shaun Maswanganyi, and Chukwuma withdraw from African Championships

Many top athletes withdrew from their events at the championship with Ta Lou-Smith leading the party in the revolution against the horrible organisation in Cameroon.

The multiple African medallist who qualified with the fastest time in the heats of 11.14s didn't show up in the semifinals - thus withdrawing from the championship.

Nigeria's speed sensation Favour Ofili also did not start her semifinal race despite clocking the second-fastest time of 11.22s in her heat. At the same time, her compatriot Rosemary Chukwuma joined the list of withdrawals that didn't compete on Day 2.

Gambia's double African Games champion Gina Bass-Bittaye will eventually win the title in 11.16s to successfully defend her crown won at Mauritius 2022.

Gina Bass is now the queen of African women's sprints

Meanwhile, South Africa's speedster Shaun Maswanganyi also took to his X handle, explaining that he feared for his health owing to the poor conditions athletes were put in, forcing him to exit prematurely from the meet.

“Long story short, the organisation of the whole meet (African Champs) is absolutely dismal, to say the least. We, as athletes, are constantly told to ‘do as the Romans do’ and are expected to perform in the harshest conditions. If nothing changes, I’ll be in Houston by Saturday.

Shaun Maswanganyi

“I wish I were exaggerating when I say my health is at risk, as there is hardly any accommodation for my allergies. I can only imagine what other athletes are experiencing, from sharing beds to food-related problems. Additionally, transport has been a significant issue.

“That being said, I booked my flight this morning, and I’m currently typing this at the airport. I vlogged the whole meet, so I’ll be posting on my YouTube channel soon. If we don’t look out for ourselves as athletes, no one else will. Fin,” he said.