The Technical Director of the just-concluded Okpekpe 10km Road Race in Edo, Brown Ebewele, says this year’s edition, attracted no fewer than 1,140 athletes from across the globe.
Ebewele told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Benin that the Silver label race would continue to have a global attraction as the organisers seek to improve on it.
He added that the only major area of concern in this year’s race, the 6th edition, was the disorderliness at the finishing point.
While commending the security agencies for a good work done before, during and after the race, he, however, noted that they did not do enough in the area of crowd control.
“Even the governor of the state, Godwin Obaseki, was not happy about it.
“There was no way I could go with whip to control the crowd, that is simply the job of security agencies and they failed in that regard,’’ the technical director said.
Ebewele told NAN that the organisers did remarkably well by staring the race at 8 a.m. prompt.
“Everything about the race went well, especially the starting time 8 a.m. prompt, even though the rains messed up the whole beauty at the finishing point.’’
On what could be done about the continuous dominance of the race by East African athletes since its inception, Ebewele told NAN that it bordered on lack of motivation.
“The question is, how do you expect our athletes to perform when they do not have anything going for them?
“For you to come out top in any sport competition, you must have the proper training, and it is only with proper funding that you can get this done.
“Nigeria’s sports ministries are simply lacking in this regard, and unless something urgent is done to change this narrative, our sports which are currently at its lowest ebb may continue to suffer,’’ Ebewele added.
NAN reports that the 6th Okpekpe 10km Road Race took place on May 12, with athletes from East Africa dominating proceedings in the male and female categories of the annual event.
Alex Kibet from Kenya emerged tops in the male category with a returning time of 29.46 mins and the plum prize money of 20,000 dollars.
While Yami Dera-Dida of Ethiopia claimed the top spot in the female category with a returning time of 33.01mins to clinch the 20, 000 dollars prize money at stake.