Okpekpe Organisers Restate Commitment to Drug Free Road Race

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Organisers of the IAAF bronze label Okpekpe International 10km Road Race have said that they will ensure all anti-doping rules are followed to the letter when the fourth edition holds next month.

Spokesman for the race, Dare Esan, revealed yesterday that provision has been made for a full doping control for the event which has become one of the most anticipated in the calendar of IAAF Label road races.

“All tests shall be conducted in accordance with the IAAF anti-doping regulations. There will be mandatory and requested tests. The mandatory tests are those that the organisers must conduct at its expense and includes the minimum four that must be done as a bronze label event viz two men and two women as a mixed gender race and of course those that must be conducted in the event a world record or area record is broken,” Esan said.

“The requested tests will be at the athlete’s expense if he or she breaks a national record,” he further said and added that the IAAF have specifically ordered that the doping control must be held in a neat environment while samples collected will be sent to IAAF accredited laboratories outside Nigeria.

“The laboratory in South Africa is temporarily closed and the IAAF has advised we send the samples to any of the three in Europe and the Middle East,” said Esan who insisted that the organisers of the only IAAF labeled 10km road race in Africa in 2016 have to subscribed to the efforts to rid athletics of doping after the scandal involving Russia since last year.

Meanwhile, with over 3,000 runners expected to participate, organisers say they are now dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s as far as the technical and administrative organisation of the event is concerned.
“We are good to go, everything is set for another wonderful experience at the hilly town of Okpekpe in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State,” said Esan.

“The international elite field is complete with some world-class, gold and silver level runners. Our elite athlete manager, Walter Abmayr, was in Nigeria last month and visited Okpekpe to check the course and advise on a few other things which have been put in place. This edition will serve as the benchmark for future editions of the race in terms of its technical organisation,” said a very confident Esan.

“We have identified the drinking/sponging and refreshment stations; we have concluded on the issue of the prize money which, in accordance with IAAF rules are equal for both men and women. The rules also permit us to offer specific incentive prizes to our people, this time the people of Ibie North to encourage local participation and development. This we have done,” Esan concluded.