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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 October, 2003, 23:39 GMT 00:39 UK
All-Africa Games under way
Riders carry the national flags into the stadium
Nigeria is hoping the games will be a good advertisement
The All-Africa Games have opened with a colourful ceremony in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo was among the crowd at the new specially-built 60,000-seat stadium to watch a flag-raising ceremony and poetry readings in praise of Africa.

Fifty-three countries have sent 7,000 athletes to compete in 23 sports.

The Games are the continent's sporting equivalent of the Olympics and the Nigerian Government has taken its role as host seriously.

It has spent at least $600m on a sports complex, athletes' village and the new stadium.

This is the second time that Nigeria has hosted the All-Africa Games, which were initiated in the 1960s and are held every four years.

HAVE YOUR SAY
The games are very important to the development of sport in Africa
Sunday Adeyemi Adepegba, Nigeria/ UK

The government hopes the games will entice investors and consolidate Nigeria's image as a big brother of the continent.

Critics say that in a country where most people live below the poverty line, the money would have been better spent on health, education and improving infrastructure.




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29 Sep 03  |  Africa


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