Elite athletes from as many as eight countries will participate in next weekend’s fifth Okpekpe International 10km Road Race in Okpekpe, Etsakor East LocalÂ Government Area of Edo State.
According to Spokesman for the race, Dare Esan, the countries who have confirmed their participation include; Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Tanzania, Morocco, Turkey, BurundiÂ and of course the host nation, Nigeria.
â€œWe are delighted to announce that elite athletes from eight countries will participate in the IAAF Bronze label race scheduled for Saturday May 13th,â€ saysÂ Esan who revealed that former Nigeria track and field international, Yusuf Ali, who is the top technical official of the race has confirmed the number ofÂ participating countries based on the conclusion of the international elite athletes registration.
â€œThis is to fulfill the IAAF conditions for a label race. The rules state that all label races, from gold to bronze must have a certain number ofÂ international elite field spread across four or five countries depending on the class of the label,â€ explains Esan who added that the desire of the OkpekpeÂ organisers is to move to the silver label rating by next year.
â€œBronze Label races must have an international elite field with a minimum of five men and five women participating in the competition and a minimum of fourÂ different nationalities must be represented,â€ revealed Esan who added that organisers of this year’s edition of the race have fulfilled even conditions metÂ for a gold label race.
â€œFor example we have over 10 men and 10 women elite runners from eight countries participating in the race. For gold and silver labeled races, theÂ international elite field must be a minimum of five men and five women participating in the competition and a minimum of at least five differentÂ nationalities,â€ he said.
This, according to Esan, could be, for example, elite men from three countries and elite women from two countries for mixed gender races which Okpekpe is.
â€œIt is clear that we are already on the right track for a silver label rating come next year,â€ he said.
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It is the first and only road race in Nigeria whose race course has been measured by an IAAF/AIMS accr