Sports: Second national athletics championships postponed due to lack of funds

November 16, 2021

The South Sudan second national athletics championships which were scheduled to take place on 11 November in Aweil, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, have been indefinitely postponed due to lack of funds, a government official has said.

The abrupt decision came days after the presidency failed to provide financial support for the event. The country first held its first-ever national athletics championships in Western Bahr el Ghazal State in 2019.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj over the weekend, the Northern Bahr el Ghazal State minister of culture, youth, and sports, Deng Wek Wekdit, confirmed that the activities were halted because the presidency did not release funds for the event.

“The postponement of the national event, which is second republican athletics championship, was expected to be conducted on date 10 November but unfortunately it came to fail due to logistical challenges,” Minister Wek revealed. “The main source of funding for this event is the presidency which is tasked with funding the processes for all participants who will be coming from various places to Aweil where competitions are supposed to have taken place.”

He added: “I went to Juba and I met with the national minister of youth and sports Bol Dhieu whom I gave the detailed budget and he took it to the office of the president. Until now, the paper is in the office of the president and we are waiting for his response.”

A technical team from the South Sudan Athletics Federation (SSAF) who arrived in Aweil ahead of the event said preparations were in place apart from the administrative challenges.

“My feeling on the postponement is that the playground was not ready and if it was ready, there was no reason for the postponement,” Joseph Ramadan of the technical team said. “There are also some administrative issues connected with the changes. We need the champions to take place within this month (November) because our season closes every November and if it is extended beyond that, it is out of order.”

Another member of the technical team, Mathew Ngor, said they have done the needed preparations and were only waiting for the national federation office in Juba to dispatch delegates to Aweil.

“We prepared the play area and we are going to welcome the delegates who will be sent by the national federation office. We informed our head office to fix a date when the activities shall take place,” Ngor said.


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