Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The six top athletes that emerged from the 18km Owan Community Marathon Race on Tuesday commenced training for the 2018 edition of the Okpekpe 10km International Road Race in Edo State.

The six athletes are the road runners who emerged first, second and third in both the male and female categories of the Owan marathon race.

Sponsor of the Owan Marathon, Christopher Ojo, disclosed to journalists in Benin City yesterday that Edo State Sport Council marathon coach is in charge of the training of the six athletes.

Hedisclosed that the maiden edition of the Owan Marathon that took placed on January 2 was meant to discover and groom talents to global stardom.

Ojo, a United States of America-based software engineer, said that featuring in the Okpekpe 10km race was just the beginning of the exposure to great marathon races planned for the Owan six marathoners.

He promised further participations in other races around the world for the top three winners in both the male and female category.

According to Ojo, “We intend to register the athletes that we discovered in the very first edition of the Owan Marathon Race for this year’s edition of the Okpekpe Race. This is just the beginning of exposure we plan for the winners,” stressed the road race enthusiast.

“These athletes already have the talents. Our job now is to train them professionally.
He was amazed that the road runners ran ‘amazing race’ at the first Owan Marathon.
“They ran an amazing race during the Owan Marathon. Even without the proper kits and training, the athletes returned in an amazing time that was surprising to coaches that were present,” stressed Ojo.

Meanwhile, Edo Sports Council Marathon Coach, Osagie Okhaimu, has decried the inability of the state to present a team in the last edition of the annual Okpekpe International 10km Road Race.

He attributed the poor performance of Nigerian roadrunners in the Okpekpe race to the lack of interest by states in long distance races.

“This is why athletes from East African countries and those from other states of the federation like Plateau and Bauchi have always dominated athletes from Edo,” he noted.

While commending the sponsor of the Owan Marathon race, Okaimu said the athletes who emerged from the race would be given specialized training ahead of the 2018 Okpekpe race.