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IOC President Visits Nigeria - 2003-10-07

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge has completed a three-day visit to Nigeria, the host of the eighth All Africa Games.

While there have been problems surrounding the Games here in Abuja, Dr. Jacques Rogge did not dwell on them in his remarks during a news conference. Instead, he told the reporters gathered at the new national stadium in Abuja that he enjoyed his visit.

"I was extremely pleased by my stay here. I have discovered the real hospitality of the Nigerians, and I have been very much impressed by the quality of what I have seen."

Both local and foreign media have not been impressed by the quality of some key components of the All Africa Games, including accreditation and transportation. There have been long delays and breakdowns in both areas.

Dr. Rogge said the All Africa Games will play a key role in improving the quality of sports competition across Africa.

He says, "These Games will definitely be very important for the development of sport in Africa. It is important for the athletes, who can compete at the highest level. It is important because it is also a qualification for the Athens Games of next year in many sports. And it is important in terms of the legacy left to Africa and to the country."

The I-O-C President also said he was very impressed with the new sports facilities built here in Abuja for the All Africa Games.