Abigael Ogunbowale Dazzles At Ijebu Heritage Half-Marathon
Against the odds, eleven-year-old Nigerian Abigael Ogunbowale stole the show at the maiden edition of Ijebu Heritage Half-Marathon to finish the 21km race at the Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State.
Ogunbowale, a registered runner for the half-marathon, completed the race to prove doubters wrong about her resilience. She was rewarded with N250,000 cash by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rite Foods, Saleem Adegbuwa, who was one of the co-sponsors of the race.
Adegbuwa praised the courage of Ogunbowale, adding that she was a beauty to behold as the curtain closed on the race.
“The courage of the young lad is a beauty to behold, and seeing such a girl competing with established stars in spite of her age was something,” Adegbuwa said. “We are looking forward to seeing her getting better.”
“As a son of the soil and being involved, I will say it is our thing and is really important that we bring events of this nature home. I mean world-class events like this. By DNA in Nigeria, we are good at sports, we just need to harness it so we can go international with it.”
“I was not surprised today to see a 55-year-old and 11-year-old finishing the race,” he added.
Adegbuwa also noted that Nigeria was naturally blessed with talents and they would continue to get more backing from his company.
“We were naturally gifted and we just need to make sure the talents here are well-coordinated,” Adegbuwa added.“We intend to do more in sports, with the Abeokuta Marathon also coming up later in the year, and we are looking forward to more like that.”
A police officer from Ijebu-Ode, Femi Olusanya, came first among the indigenous runners who finished the race. Kenya’s Hosea Kiplimo won the half-marathon with the time of 1 hour 02 minutes 36 seconds and got the cash prize of 10,000 dollars.
His compatriot, Rhonzas Kilimo, came second in a time of 1:02:57 for the Prize money of 7,000 dollars. Timothy Ronoh, also from Kenya, won the third-place prize with 1:02:59, with Keneth Kiprop in fourth, while John Muriuri came fifth.
In the Female category, Kenya’s Sandra Chebet returned the time of 1:10:42 to emerge winner, while Ethiopians Gebaynesh Ayele and Beyenu Degefa were second and third in 1:10:52 and 1:11:02 respectively.
Chidi Nwoke/The Guardian.