The Edo State government has restated its total support for the historic Okpekpe international 10km road race.

The state’s Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Phillip Shaibu restated the commitment when the promoter of the race, Mike Itemuagbor and his team paid him a courtesy call at the weekend.

Shaibu assured the event organizers of the commitment and continued support of the Edo State government to the race, and demanded very good value and the delivery of the essence of the event to the people of Edo State, Nigeria and the international community.

“We are delighted Edo State has been playing host to this historic race, the first road race in West Africa to get an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) label status.

“We are committed to making the race the first IAAF Gold label race in West Africa next year after scoring another first as the first IAAF Silver label race to be run in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region in 2018”, said Shaibu who enjoined organisers of the race to keep the flag flying high.

In his response, Itemuagbor said the visit of the organisers of the Okpekpe international 10km road race was an opportunity to brief the Deputy Governor and the media on their preparations and readiness for the event.

“This year’s race will be different from the race we had in Nigeria last year. Although it is still technically an IAAF Silver label race, what Nigerians will witness will be a Gold label event because we want to upgrade to a Gold label race.

“We want to be the first IAAF Gold label race in West Africa and the second in Africa after the marathon race in Cape Town, South Africa”, said Itemuagbor who thanked the Edo State government for throwing its weight behind the race.

“What an IAAF label denotes are high standards in event organisation and full application of the IAAF competition rules. One of the factors that has also made the race truly world class is the support we have received from the state government.”

This year’s race will hold on the 25th of this month in Okpekpe, Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.

Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.


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