Saturday, February 6, 2016 9:28 pm
Taiwo Adelu and Kazeem Ugbodaga
Though Abraham Kiptum of Kenya beat other top marathoners across the world to win the first Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Saturday at a time of 2 hours, 16 minutes, 21 seconds (2:16:21), a Nigerian also won in another category for locals.
He is Philip Sharubutu from Nasarawa state. He was the first Nigerian male to cross the finish line with a time of 2:30:51. Sharubutu was not a new entrant in African marathon as he was at the 2013 edition of African Marathon Championship held in Burkina Faso where he came fourth.
Coming second at the finish line among Nigerian male marathoners was Eliya Pam with a time of 2:31:41, while Peter Maham was third with a time of 2:39:07. (This corrects our earlier report of an Emmanuel Gyang leading other Nigerians)
In the overall race, another Kenyan Hosea Kipkemoi Kiplagat was second ( 2:16:34), while Ethiopian Debebe Tolosa (2:16:40) came third in the men’s category.
The women’s race was won by Ethiopian Halima Hussen Kayo at 2:38:36, Kenyan Alice Jemeli Timbilil (2:38:49) and Aberash Feyase (2:39:09) came second and third respectively.
Oluwaseun Sarah was the first Nigerian female to cross the line followed by Mary Akor and Yohanna Donatu
The Kenyan, Kiptum with bib number 341, will pocket the sum of $50,000 for winning the tournament, while the Nigerian, Sharubutu will be given the sum of N1 million for his effort.
Halima Huseen Kayo of Ethiopia, who emerged winner of the female category, is going home with $50,000.
Dignitaries at the finishing line include the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, a Cameroon national, current President of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA).
He has been at the helm since 2003, when he replaced Lamine Diack who became President of the International Athletics Federation (IAAF). He led the delegation together with Solomon Ogba, President of Athletic federation of Nigeria and Fatma A. Awake, the Vice President of the Athletic federation of Kenya.
Speaking at a brief ceremony at the finish line at the Eko Atlantic City, Governor Ambode reiterated his government’s plan to make Lagos a hub for sports in Africa, adding that “more international sporting events will henceforth be staged in the ‘Centre of Excellence’.
The Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung commended Lagos State Government for organizing a tournament that could attract participants from the rest of the world. He said the Federal Government was so impressed with what Lagos has been doing to use sports as a tool for youth development.
Managing Director of the major sponsor of the marathon event, Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe said the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will be a yearly event.
The 2017 edition will be staged on 11 February.