Ethiopia Dominates Okpekpe International 10km Road Race

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Ethiopia emerged winners of the men and women’s categories of the Okpekpe 10km Road Race after Jasin Hadi (29.05) and Anchinaiu Dessie outran their Kenyan challengers to claim victory for the third time in eight editions of the competition.

The Okpekpe Road Race is an annual 10 Kilometre road race over hills and roads, starting from Apana Road and ending in Okpekpe town in Edo State, Nigeria.

Hadi’s 29.95s finish is the third fastest winning time in the history of the race. He won ahead of the Kenyan duo of Elvis Cheboi (29.20s) and Bereket Nego (29.30s). The Ethiopian went home with the $13,000 top prize money.

Anchinaiu Dessie

Anchinaiu Dessie (C) on the podium after winning the women’s catergory of the 2022 Okpekpe International 10km Road Race

In the women’s race, Ethiopia’s Anchinaiu Dessie’s 33.09s finihed fetched her $13,000 as she finished first in the women’s category of the Okpekpe International 10km Road Race.

For the Nigerians in the race, Ismael Sadjo (31.12s) and Rose Akusho (36.40s) came home first in in the male and female’s cadres respectively.

The Deputy Governor of Edo State Philip Shaibu, who ran in the VIP race, also expressed delight at the turnout of athletes, officials and the locals.

 

“The race is a World Athletics elite label event, and I am happy it is back again,” Shaibu said. “This is the first race in Africa to be granted a label status by World Athletics, which makes it one of the world-class races across the globe.”

“The target now is to get upgraded to a World Athletics elite platinum label. Edo is a pacesetter state and the heartbeat of Nigeria and we are determined to always lead in sports.”

The President of Athletes Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Tonobok Okowa, commended the Edo State Government for the sustainability of the Okpekpe Road Race, maintaining that there was much improvement in this year’s Championship.

He disclosed that the AFN under his watch has concluded plans to encourage every state in the country to take a clue from Edo State by organising at least one road race every year which according to him would improve the country’s athletes.

Organiser of the race, Mike Itemuagbor, expressed joy at the successful conduct of the race.

“After a COVID-19 induced two-year absence, the race has successfully come back bigger,” Itemuagbor said.

 

Chidi Nwoke/The Guardian.