One of the firm favourites tipped to excel for Nigeria at the Lagos City Marathon, Emmanuel Gyang, has blamed a muscle sprain for his poor finish in Saturday’s 42km race.
In a chat with PREMIUM TIMES, Gyang said he suffered a muscle sprain while approaching the 35km, with his momentum affected.
Before the setback, updates from the road revealed that Gyang was giving the foreign elite athletes a run for their money and his pace was looking good enough to set a new national marathon record.
However, what was looking like a dream debut in a full international marathon of this magnitude turned sour for Gyang who nonetheless remains resolute in his set targets.
“I am quite disappointed, I had a different plan but it did not turn out that way, this is the first time I will be having a muscle pull while running, I need to check what went wrong so it does not repeat itself,” Gyang stated.
Coming to Lagos, Gyang said he had the twin ambition of qualifying for the Olympics and also breaking the national record which had stayed unchallenged for nearly three decades.
Sadly, none of that was achieved.
“I was really looking forward to be in Lagos again,” Gyan who on 7th, December 2013, set a personal best record of 1:04:18secs in the 21km at the Nanning International race in China stated.
Despite his personal setback, Gyang submitted that it was heart-warming that Nigeria through Lagos State and Access Bank was finally situating itself properly on the world marathon map.
Born in Jos, Plateau State, Gyang said that his gradual journey to stardom has been everything but easy, but said he had been braving the odds to fulfil his potential as a world class long distance runner.
“I actually started from school, I was formerly trying to play football, but that did not work for me, I first came to limelight when I represented my school in a local government competition; in that competition, I won both the 1500m and 800m.”
While Gyang continues to work hard to achieve his goals, he is not doing that in isolation as he has chosen to seek advice and motivation from past masters of the game, one of whom is the current national recorder holder in full marathon in Nigeria, Abass Mohammed.
“I know Abass Mohammed. He is in the military and a good athlete. I met with him in 2014 at the NASEGA games in Minna where I learnt he was the full marathon record holder. This information gave me the motivation to run the full marathon and break his record. He gave me some advice on how to succeed in athletics and in the marathon itself,” Gyang said.
The 42km National record which currently stands at 2:16:06secs was set by Mohammed Abass almost three decades ago.