Organisers of the fifth edition of the Okpekpe international 10km road race say they are ready to organise a bigger and better event on Saturday in Okpekpe near Auchi in Edo State.
Race Director of Organisation, Zakari Amodu, said wednesday that the first and only IAAF Bronze Label race in Nigeria will live up to its billing as one of the prestigious road races in the world.
â€œEverything is set for a good race on Saturday,â€ begins Amodu. â€œWe have covered all grounds necessary for a good race that will help us in our push to be a silver label race come next year. We have the required number of nations and elite athletes to fulfill the requirements for a bronze label race. We have all the materials we wanted for effective doping control including a doping station at the finish area in Okpekpe,” he said.
â€œThe IAAF have set requirements for us to follow as a bronze label event and I can tell you we have met all the requirements and have even moved several steps higher,â€ he continued. ‘What we are waiting for is just for the race day to be here so that we can put into practice all we have been doing in terms of keeping to the requirements.
â€œThe international body also requested that prize money offered to competitors, including bonuses for times achieved shall be equal for all competitors regardless of their nationality or gender â€“ in other words prize money for places should be equal for men and women and for nationals of the host country and athletes of other nationalities. This we have also done where the prize money for the first eight finishers are the same for men and women,â€ Amodu explained and added that drinking/sponging and refreshment stations will be adequately staffed by competent personnel and that water and refreshments shall be provided free of charge for all participants on the course and at the finish area.
Amodu also revealed that the Okpekpe race is much more than the race on the road.
”The Okpekpe race is conceptualised as a way of promoting distance and endurance related races for our athletes. It could pass for a high altitude high performance training for our athletes who need such conditions to be able to train effectively to be able to challenge the East Africans,â€ he said and believes the race has also offered the local community a first hand feel of hosting an international event while enjoying some of the economic benefit that could come with it.
â€œWe have also used the race to showcase the excellent standard of infrastructure that has been provided by the government of Edo State,” stressed Amodu.