Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Mr. Tonobok Okowa praised the organization and performance of the athletes in the just concluded 8th Okpekpe Road Race.
The AFN boss said: “We at the AFN are happy that racing is not just back but better. I was afraid it wouldn’t go well because we haven’t had him for the last two years, but it went better than before. More so, Nigerian athletes have done better than before. They all came back with their personal best time, which is a nice improvement. And seeing the overwhelming support from the local community makes my heart glad.
“Going forward, the AFN would advocate for all states to have a road race, so we can train more athletes and perform well on the international stage.”
In his reaction, Edo State Deputy Governor Mr. Philip Shaibu, who participated in the VIP category, noted that the state government is already taking advantage of the Okpekpe road race to domesticate certain sports in certain parts of the state.
According to him, “In Okpekpe, the topography is good for marathon running and so the area has been mapped for camping and training for long-distance runners. Edo Central is for gymnastics while Edo South is for swimming. We are gradually domesticating and relocating sports to regions where they have a comparative advantage and the people of these regions can take advantage of the opportunities that these sports activities provide.
The Ethiopian duo of Jasim Haji and Dessie Adchiniau emerged victorious in the men’s and women’s categories of the Okpekpe 10-kilometre road race.
In the men’s category, Jasim Haji finished with a time of 29:05 to come first, while Kenya’s Elvis Cheboi ran 29:20 to come second and another Ethiopian, Derekek Mego came third in 29:30 minutes. .
In the women’s category, Ethiopian Dessie Adchiniau ran 33:09 minutes to clinch the top prize, Dorcas Kimeli also from Ethiopia came second in 33:33 while Abigael Jelimo from Kenya ran 33:53 minutes to finish third.
In the local category, Ismail Sanjo ran 31:12 minutes to finish first in the men’s category while Rose Atuche ran 36:40 minutes to finish first in the women’s category.
The big winner of the 8th edition of the Okpekpe Race won $13,000.