Kenyans Dominate 2018 Okpekpe Road Race

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

It was a day of glory saturday for Kenyan athletes as they made a clean sweep in the male category of the 10km Okpekpe road race as Kibet Alex, ran 29 min 46 seconds to come first, Simon Cheprot who won the 2016 edition came second finishing in 30.29 while Ronoh Timothy took third with a time of 30.39.

In the female category Ethiopian Yani Dera Dida came firstr and was followed by two Kenyans , Tuei Sandra Chebey and Kipyokei Diana who came second and third respectively.

Speaking to newsmen, Kibet said the weather affected his time. “I want to thank God for winning this race. This is my first time here. The course was not easy especially the finishing point. The starting point was okay but the finishing point was hilly.

“The organisation need to put in more for the race to get the gold label. The rain made my time worse.”

Meannwhile, the immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, and Solomon Dalung, Minister of Sports, defied the heavy downpour which began 10 minutes after the VIP race kicked off to participate in the road race.

Other dignitaries in the VIP race category were Edo State Deputy Governor, Hon Philip Shaibu, Edo First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, wife of the deputy governor, Mrs. Maryann Shaibu, former Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Clem Agba among others.

The Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University, Prof Igantius Onimawo, led students and top management of the institution to run against cultism. Prof. Onimawo said cultism has become a menace to the society that needs to be eradicated.

Speaking with journalists after the race, Shaibu said the state will use sports to curb the issue of illegal migration. He said sports has become a veritable tool for getting the youths productively engaged and as such, Edo Government would invest in the development of the sector.

He said aside the current renovation of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium to international standards, the government has concluded plans to also build 20 mini stadiums across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.

“We have a renewed commitment to invest massively in sport development because of it numerous benefits to the government and the people.

“You will agree with me that the state has the challenge of illegal migration; we are going to use sports not only to check this, but put a final stop to it. We will be using sports to productively engage the youths and as such, keep them off things that will pose danger or inimical to their lives and the society.

“This is where the plan of building mini stadium across the council areas comes in. With sports facilities close to them, they will be kept busy at all time,” he said.

The deputy governor noted that the recently rebranding of Bendel Insurance, was part of the government’s renewed commitment to sport development in the state.