Focus shifts To Nigeria after London Marathon

With the 35th Virgin Money London Marathon in the books, the world’s focus now shifts to the Okpekpe international 10km road race. The race is the next in the calendar of the International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF, label races.

The event, the only IAAF bronze label race in Africa for 2016 has attracted a strong field of elite athletes racing for the $15,000 top prize money on offer for the respective male and female winners.

The spokesperson for the race, Dare Esan, is delighted that Nigeria through the Okpekpe race is now attracting the attention of the world.

“I am delighted to be a Nigerian and delighted to be involved in this race which has placed Okpekpe in particular and Nigeria in general in the consciousness of the whole world, especially the athletics community,” Esan said.

“Many across the world on Sunday saw how Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya produced an awe-inspiring marathon performance to defend his Virgin Money London Marathon title in 2:03:04, just seven seconds off countryman Dennis Kimetto’s world record.

“After the event, the 35th in the calendar of IAAF label road races in 2016,attention is now on the 36th race, the Okpekpe international 10km road race.

“Like London the Okpkekpe race is bound to be fiercely contested too going by the quality of elite athletes our international elite athletes manager, Walter Abmayr, has assembled for the race,’ adds Esan.

“At the last count we have as many as five women who are of gold level running rating and four who are of silver level running ratings for a bronze label event; while for the men as many as three gold level running athletes have been confirmed while there are as many as eight silver level running athletes.

“These are requirements for either a gold or silver label race but because we want a truly competitive event, we decided to go for the very best.

“In fact one the female athletes confirmed for the race, Kenya’s Edith Chelimo is the third fastest (31:07) 10km runner in the world so far this year while for the men, Edwin Kiprop Kiptoo is in the list of the top 15 best performers so far this year. This is an indication of how explosive the race will be, come May 7,” Esan said.

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Tunde Eludini is a graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria where he studied International Relations. He is a Senior Correspondent coordinating the sports section for PREMIUM TIMES. Twitter@tundeyeludini

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