Saturday, May 25, 2019 3:56 pm
The Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, has called for more private sector participation in the organisation of the annual 10km Okpekpe Road Race, noting that the event has immense potential to boost sports development in the country.
Dalung made the call while speaking with journalists at the end of the race, held in Okpekpe town, Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, on Saturday.
Dalung who was among the VIP runners, joined Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, Secretary to State Government, Osarodion Ogie and other top government officials in the 10km race.
He commended the state government on the sustenance of the competition, noting that that the 7th edition of the road race showed improvement in terms of security, media and community mobilisation.
Dalung said sports development across the globe is driven by private sector initiative, while “government plays a complementary role by providing for security, mobilisation, among others.”
He said, “The private sector should invest in the 10km road race as it is already a big business with high volume of trade and commercial potential for private actors to take advantage of.”
In his remark, Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, commended the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for upgrading the 10km Okpekpe road race to a gold-label competition, stressing that the 2019 edition was better in terms of organisation.
The 7th edition of the race was won by Fikadu Admasu Dawit from Bahrain, who completed the race with a time of 29:03; Berehanu Tsegu of Ethiopia came in second with a time of 29:04, and John Kipsang Lotlang from Kenya, who came in 3rd, clocked 29:17.
In the female category, Shella Chelangat from Kenya came in first at 33:14; Tultoek Dorcas Jepchirchir, another Kenyan came in second with 33:18, while Ethiopian, Kasegn Alemtsehay Asefa came in third, after completing the race in 33:31.
Fikadu Dawit said, “In 2016, I came in 9th; in 2018, I came in 2nd, and in 2019, I am the winner of the race. This year’s weather was not friendly at all, as the sun was really hot.”