Top Kenya long distance and road runner Esther Chemtai Ndiema has replaced Shitane Habtegebrel in the list of elite athletes for next month’s fourth Okpekpe International 10km Road Race in Okpekpe, Edo state.
Spokesman for the IAAF bronze label race, Dare Esan, said at the weekend that the Bahrainian, Habtegebrel pulled out because of injury.
Habtegebrel, a silver level running athlete is injured after she has been confirmed for the race and our Elite Athletes Manager, Walter Abmayr, has promptly replaced her with the Kenyan Ndiema,” observed Esan who further revealed that Ndiema is a gold level running athlete.
“This has brought the number of gold level running athletes for the race from four to five women following the confirmation of Pascalia Kipkoech, Maryane Wanjiru and Polline Wanjiku from Kenya and Ethiopia’s Buzunesh Gudeta for the race. These are all gold level running athletes,” said a delighted Esan.
“It’s obvious we are organising a bronze label event with the requirements for a gold label race. This is a demonstration of our determination to improve to a silver label rating next year. This is the dream of Pamodzi Sports Marketing, organisers of the only IAAF label race in Nigeria nay West Africa and one of only two in Africa this year,” he further said.
Esan also revealed that IAAF is taking keen interest in the race which is the second of four labelled 10km races in the world this year after the IAAF Gold Label World’s Best 10K race in San Juan, Puerto Rico in February and the IAAF Gold Label Ottawa 10K race in Ottawa, Canada on May 28and IAAF Bronze Label B.A.A. 10K race in Boston, USA in June.
“Since it is a label race which means it is one of the leading road races in the world, the IAAF automatically takes interest in how it is organised and we are delighted to announce that we are ready to organise a benchmark edition this year.
“The world governing body for the sport has sent a list of requirements that must be followed.
“The race will be organised in accordance with the IAAF Competition Rules and that of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria who are providing the technical partnership for the race with our international elite athletes manager, Abmayr.
“Our race Director, Zak Amodu, will ensure that all officials and competitors are fully informed regarding IAAF Competition Rules,” Esan concluded.