Nigerian athletes join London marathon in solidarity with Boston victims
Two Nigerian amateur runners, who participated in the Sunday London Marathon, said they were in the race in solidarity with the victims of the April 15 Boston Marathon blasts in the US.
Ola Davies told the News Agency of Nigeria, moments after ending the race in which over 35,000 runners participated, that “Since I do not have any charity, I decided to support victims of the Boston blasts by partaking in the race.”
Another athlete, Yinka Onabanjo, said, “I was a bit sceptical, but I got motivated by the thousands of people who came from all over the world for this marathon.”
The runners described the race as sport tourism, and urged the various state governors in Nigeria to emulate the Cross River State Government for the hosting of the annual Obudu Ranch Mountain Race.
According to the athletes, organizing similar races across Nigeria will draw attention to the economic potentialities of their states.
Some spectators from Ghana, South Africa, Namibia and Kenya, who spoke with NAN, expressed satisfaction with security measures put in place for the race.
African athletes came tops in the men’s and women’s elite categories of the one-day race.
Ethiopian born Tsegaye Kebede beats Olympics champion, Emmanuel Mutai, to the finish line at 2:06:04 to win the men’s category.
Ethiopian Ayele Abshero also finished third while Olympics champion, Stephen Kiprobitch from Uganda was sixth in the men’s event.
In the women’s, Kenyan born Priscah Jeptoo, won the 26 mile race at 2:20:15, after taking advantage of a fall by Olympic champion Tiki Gelana.
Reacting to her victory, Jeptoo said: “today I am very very happy, I could not believe I will be the winner, it’s a very though race and everyone who came here was really prepared.’’
The race was held amid tight security, following concerns over the blasts in a similar race in Boston in which three people died and over 170 were injured.
The Marathon started at Back heath in South East London, cut across many streets with London’s famous landmarks, and ended at The Mall near Buckingham Palace.