For the second year running, athletes from East Africans have again shown their dominance of long distance race in the African continent, as they clinched all prizes in this year’s Okpekpe International Mountain Race which held on Saturday, May 7.
In this year’s edition of the 10-kilometre International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF)-recognised (Bronze category) race, athletes from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda came first, second and third respectively in the male category, while athletes from Kenya came first and second in the female category, and an Ethiopian came third.
The event began at about 8:45 am, with hundreds of participating local, national and international athletes taking off at the starting line, while Edo state Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who led the VIP category, took of at the starting line 30 minutes later.
Assorted fruits and bottle water were provided by organisers at strategic points to refresh the athletes.
Winning the gold prize of $15,000 was Simon Cheproch, a Kenyan athlete won the gold prize of $15,000 after breasting the finishing line at 29.48 minutes.
The silver medal was clinched by a Tanzanian, Ishmael Jumagalet at a time of 29.50 minutes. He went home with $10,000, while Timothy Tonch from Uganda who breasted the line at the line at 29.54 minutes. He won the $7000 prize money for bronze.
In the female international category, Pollin Njeru and Ndiema Esther, both Kenyans, came first and second respectively while Buzunesh Gudeta of Ethiopia came third.
In the Nigeria category (male), Adamu Shehu Muazu (32.36 mins), Stephen Joshua (32.37 mins) and Emmanuel Gyang (32.39 mins) came first, second and third respectively. They also went home with N80,000, N100,000 and N250,000 respectively in the male category.
Deborah Pam, Sarah Olamide Oluwasuen (39:26mins) and Elisabeth Nuhu Bawa (39.32 mins) came first, second and third. They went home with N80, 000, N100, 000 and N250,000 respectively, in the female category.
In his speech, Governor Adams Oshiomhole who also ran the entire 10 kilometres with some other VIPs, thanked organisers of the event and members of the community for supporting the event.
“I feel very fulfilled and am very excited that I am able to participate. I have shown that I can do 10 kilometres. But this is the last time I will be here as a sitting governor. But God willing, I hope to participate in all future editions of Okpekpe Race, so long God gives me good health,” he said.
He urged the incoming administration to sustain the event.
A leading community member, Barrister (Mrs.) Grace Egbagbe, noted that the yearly event has put Okpekpe on the world map. She thanked Governor Adams Oshiomhole for opening up the community with the construction of the road.
Several corporate and non governmental organisations, participated in the event.