Ethiopia's Ulfata Geleta was the first athlete to cross the line at the 7th edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.

Ethiopian runners showed class on Saturday, February 12th, winning the men and women’s categories of the 7th edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon ahead of their Kenyan counterparts.

While Ulfata Gelata claimed the 1st position in the men’s race, his compatriot Dagne Siranesh Yirga finished ahead of all the other runners in the women’s category.

Geleta who finished as the first runner-up at last year’s edition moved up this time to emerge as the proud winner of the $30,000 first prize money. Though the Ethiopian’s winning time of 2.11.54 sec was short of the Course Record set in the 2020 edition, it is the second-fastest ever in the history of the annual 42km road race.

The Kenyan duo of  David Barmasai and Emmanuel Naibei settle for 2nd and 3rd places respectively in the men’s race, going home with $20,000 and $15,000 for their efforts at this year’s race.

In the women category, Ethiopia’s Dagne’s winning time was 2 hours 33 minutes and 50 seconds. She was followed in 2nd place by compatriot Alemenseh Guta and Kenya’s Naomi Maiyo in 3rd place.

This is only the second time that Ethiopia would win both the male and female categories of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.

In the Nigeria category, Shehu Muazu and Fadekemi Olude were the top finishers who won the N1m prize monies set aside for the indigenous athletes.

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare has assured that Nigeria’s fortunes at the annual Access Bank Lagos City Marathon would improve once the country’s High-Performance Centres begin full operations.

Speaking to newsmen in Lagos on Saturday during the 7th edition of the race, Dare said the Sports Ministry and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria(AFN)would work together to ensure that Nigerians become more competitive in long-distance races.

“Our plan is to ensure that Nigerians do not just make up the numbers but also enjoy podium finishes in long-distance races. We are reviving some of the programmes that will make this happen.

“We are also going to get our High-Performance Centres fully operational. We have a centre in Pankshin, Plateau State and another one in Taraba State. Hopefully in the next few editions of this marathon, we would have a Nigerian clean sweep of the podium places”, he stated.

 

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sportswriter 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 also freelances for World Athletics.

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