Wednesday, January 27, 2016 12:17 am
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
At least, N96 million is set for grabs at the Lagos City Marathon taking place in Lagos on 6 February, 2016, the Lagos State Government has disclosed.
At a news conference on Tuesday at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde said the marathon represents the first international marathon competition to be staged by Lagos in the last 30 years.
He said the Marathon would kick off at the National Stadium, Surulere at exactly 7.00am, with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode declaring the event open, saying that it will cover a distance of 42.195km and the winner is expected to cover the distance in less than three hours.
Ayorinde disclosed that the star prize money for the winner in the male and female category would be $50,000.00 each.
The commissioner also disclosed that out of the 100,000 forms sent out, 12,000 forms had been returned, but noted that at the end of the day, about 20,000 people would participate in the marathon.
He added that 60 international participants had confirmed readiness to participate in the event, saying that out of the best 20 male marathoners in the world, 18 of them had indicated interest to participate in the event, while out of the best 20 female marathoners in the world, six had also indicated interest to participate.
Ayorinde said while the star prize would be $50,000, the runner up would take home $40,000 and the third place winner taking home $30,000, saying that the first 10 winners would get prize money.
He said as part of plan to encourage Nigerians to participate in the event, he said the first Nigerian to finish the marathon would get N1 million; second prize, N750, 000 and N500, 000 for third prize.
Speaking on the specific roles of government agencies, Ayorinde said the Ministry of Health would provide medical services, and that there would be ambulances at strategic locations to take care of any emergencies.
He said his Ministry would coordinate the awareness of the State Government concerning the tournament, while the Ministries of The Environment and that of Transportation would monitor and ensure proper cleaning as well as the routes to be used by the participating athletes.
The commissioner said the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), together with other traffic management agencies would be in charge of the alternative routes already created for commuters who may like to go about their normal business activities.
Ayorinde disclosed that adequate security measures have equally been put in place, adding that there have been provision for permanent and static mobile deployment of 100 security personnel to cover each vulnerable point such as the pre-event venue and hotel accommodating the foreign athletes and guests for 10 days prior to the event.
Also, Special Adviser to the Governor on Sports and Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr. Deji Tinubu said security personnel were drawn from the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) and the Department of State Security, while five boats will also be deplored.
Tinubu added that in line with the commitment of Governor Akinwumi Ambode, there are plans for the event to hold yearly and that the ultimate goal is that it should be the biggest marathon event in Africa, and permanently be logged on the International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF, time table.
He added that there have equally been provisions for transponders to prevent cheating, which would also reduce the number of personnel needed for the tournament.