• Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

Sports: Tool for National Development, says Shaibu

…Flags-off Okpekpe 10km Road Race

Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Phillip Shaibu, says sports has become a veritable tool for promoting the development and unity of a nation.

The Deputy Governor made the remarks while flagging off the 9th edition of the Okpekpe 10km Road Race, weekend in Okpekpe, Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.

The Edo State’s number two citizen was represented by his Chief of Staff, Hon. Kingsley Ehigiamusor, at the ceremony.

He reiterated the commitment of the present administration, led by Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, towards sports development through various programs and activities.

At the close of activities which attracted many local and foreign athletes, Daniel Simiu from Kenya emerged as the all-time fastest winner of the 10 kilometres road race.

The East African runner set a new record with a time of 28 minutes, and 28 seconds, to come first in the elite male category of the race.

The Okpekpe 10km Road Race is a sporting event which is held every year in Okpekpe Community, Edo North Senatorial District.

The international event has been staged annually since its inception in 2013, except for 2020 and 2021, due to the outbreak of the dreaded COVID-19 disease.

This year marks the 9th edition of the race with the participation of Sabogida Ora and Okpekpe indigenes as new categories, aside from the traditional elite and Nigeria categories of the sporting event.

While Daniel Simiu from Kenya set a new race record as the fastest runner with a time of 28 minutes,28 seconds in the elite male category, Caroline Chipngetich of Kazakhstan, equally set a new record in the elite female category with 32 minutes, 38 seconds time frame.

For setting new records, the organizers of the Okpekpe 10km Road Race, announced a prize award of 20,000 US Dollars for the male and female champions, instead of the usual 13,000 US Dollars prize attached to the gold medal of the race.

Meanwhile, Brian Kawemoi, also from Kenya and Yasin Haji of Ethiopia, finished second and third respectively, in the elite male category.

The duo of Bertukan Welde (Ethiopia) and Ludwina Chipngetich (Kenya), clinched the second and third positions in the female elite category.

In the Nigeria male category, Ishmael Sanjo from Cross River State, came first with a record time of 31 minutes, 53 seconds, while Patience Dalung from Plateau State, came tops in the female category.

The all-time fastest runner of this year’s 9th edition, Okpekpe 10km Road Race – Daniel Simiu and other athletes, in their separate chats with newsmen, appreciated the race organizers, Padmozi Sports and its CEO, Mike Itemuagbor, for providing them with the platform to showcase their God-given talents.

The athletes promised to continue to work harder to improve their performance and set new records.

Speaking earlier, Permanent Secretary, Edo State Sports Commission, Mrs. Sabina Amiemenoghena Chikere, said the Okpekpe Road Race was part of the Edo State Government’s commitment towards ensuring the State ranked first in sporting activities.

The promoter and chief organizer of the road race, Mike Ituemagbor, expressed excitement over the participation of Ora and Okpekpe indigenes in the event. He called on Nigerians, especially politicians, to contribute to the development of their immediate communities by promoting sporting activities.

The 10th edition of the annual Okpekpe 10km Road Race is expected to hold in May 2024.

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