Sunday, May 4, 2014 10:08 am
For the second year running, athletes from East Africa dominated the 2014 Okpekpe 10-kilometre-road race held in Okpekpe, Etsako East local government area of Edo State, South- South of Nigeria.
18-year-old Asafan Testome of the Republic of Ethiopia on Saturday set a new time record of 28.26 minutes to clinch the first place prize of $25,000.
This is against the 28.36minutes recorded by Moses Masai from Kenya in the first edition of the race held last year.
Amos Mitei and Cornelius Kangogo, both from Kenya came second and third with 28.53 and 29.01minutes respectively, carting home the sum of $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.
In the female category, Wudi Ayella also from Ethiopia, clinched the sum of $15,000 at stake having finished the race with 32.41minutes to defeat fellow Ethiopians Jeneth Yella and Dibaba Rephin to the second and third positions respectively.
Ayella however dropped in time record, having finished the race in 32.4 minutes as against the 33.01minutes recorded by Georgina Rono of Kenya in 2013.
Fanfare of the road race was however devoid of the much advertised participation by governors Rotimi Amaechi and Rauf Aregbesola of Rivers and Osun states respectively.
They were said to have indicated interest to participate in the exercise.
Edo state governor and chief convener of the race, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, commended the participating athletes, especially those from other Africa countries. He noted that the annual event has served as a unifying factor rather than for monetary gain.
He decried what he called discrimination against female athletes by International Athletic Association Federation (IAAF) in term of award of prizes. He urged the body to change the policy, adding that women should be more encouraged to participate in sporting activities.
The governor noted that for the reason that the female athletes put in the same efforts in the competition with their male counterpart, called for equitable distribution of prizes on the basis of first come.
He announced plans by the state government to organize a full blown marathon race, scheduled to take place at the 52-kilometre Urhonigbe road in Orhionmwon local government area of the state to take place in December this year.
He advised Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to commence preparation for hosting the event.
Dignitaries in the sports industry, financial institutions, and entertainment industry were among those who graced the occasion.