The Edo State Government has restated its total support for the historic Okpekpe international 10km Road Race.
The state’s Deputy Governor, Phillip Shaibu restated the commitment when the promoter of the race, Mike Itemuagbor and his team paid him a courtesy call at the weekend.
Shaibu assured the event organisers of the commitment and continued support of the Edo State Government to the race, demanding very good value and the delivery of the essence of the event to the people of Edo State, Nigeria and the international community.
“We are delighted Edo State has been playing host to this historic race, the first road race in West Africa to get an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) label status. We are committed to making the race the first IAAF gold label race in West Africa next year, after scoring another first as the first IAAF silver label race to be run in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region in 2018,” said Shaibu, while enjoining organisers of the race to keep the flag flying high.
In his response, Itemuagbor said the visit of the organisers was an opportunity to brief the deputy governor and the media on their preparations and readiness of the event.
“This year’s race will be different from the IAAF silver label race we had in Nigeria last year. Although it is still technically an IAAF silver label race, what Nigerians will witness would be a gold label event because, we want to upgrade to a gold label race. We want to be the first IAAF gold label race in West Africa and the second in Africa after the marathon race in Cape Town, South Africa,” said Itemuagbor, who expressed delight that he had used the Okpekpe race to proof that Nigerians can organise events that can be classified as truly world class.