Final registration of athletes for Saturday’s fifth Okpekpe international 10km road race begins today in Auchi in Edo state.
The registration, according to Yusuf Alli, a former Nigeria international athlete and a top technical official of the race entails screening and accreditation of all athletes who have completed the registration format on any of the platforms provided by the organisers. It will close on Friday, May 12. ‘’All registered athletes will be screened and accredited for the race which begins early Saturday morning in Okpekpe.They will be provided with their bib numbers as a sign of accreditation for the race, ‘said Ali who further revealed that the exercise will hold at Yak hotel which is located along Auchi-Benin road in Auchi. The former Commonwealth long jump record holder also revealed that all registered elite athletes who have been invited by the organisers will be provided accommodation in Auchi while appearance fees will be paid to some of the athletes based on their pre-race performance and pedigree. ‘Local travel and accommodation will be provided for invited (IAAF) Label athletes as well as some Nigerian elite athletes whose performances rank them among the best pre-race, ‘explained Ali. Meanwhile invited (IAAF) Label athletes will start arriving today for the race. The athletes will come in through the Murtala Mohammed international airport Lagos and will be transported to Auchi where accommodation has been reserved for them. ‘The athletes, together with their Nigerian counterparts will go on tour of the course on Friday in line with (IAAF) requirements.’ Some of the top athletes expected to jet in today are men’s defending champion Simon Cheprot of Kenya who has vowed to set a new course record on the way to successfully defending his title; compatriots Edwin Nyandusi Mokua,Wilson Kiprono Too,Emmanuel Kiprono Kipsang as well as Ethiopian trio of Dawit Fikadu Admasu,Fikadu Haftu and Leul Gebresilasie.Also expected to arrive today is Tanzania’s Ismail Juma,Turkey’s Kaan Kigen Ozbilen and Thierry Ndikuwenayo of Burundi.They are all among the elite athletes from eight countries that will participate in Saturday’s race. The Okpekpe international 10km road race is powered by Pamodzi Sports Marketing,leaders in sports marketing and hospitality business in Nigeria. It is the first and only road race in Nigeria that has been granted full membership of Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and recognised as one of the prestigious road races in the world and the only race with an (IAAF) label status in West Africa.