Organisers of the recently held 5th Okpekpe 10km International Road Race, Pamodzi Sports Marketing have debunked speculations in some sections of the media that the Edo State Government spent NGN70 million to host the one-day race.
The 2017 edition of the IAAF Bronze labelled race was dominated as usual by road runners from East Africa with Ethiopian trio of Luel Gebrasilasis (29mins 28 secs), Jima Bekele (29.34), and Dawit Fikadu (32.22) making a clean sweep in the male category. Another Ethiopian, Gebru Azemra ran 33. 59 to win the women’s event.
Yesterday, CEO of Pamodzi Sports Marketing, the franchise owner of the race, Mr Mike Itemuagbor, said in a statement that Edo State government did not bankroll the race as was been erroneously speculated.
“The 2017 edition of the Okpekpe 10km International Road Race was not bankrolled by Edo State Government. I don’t know where the reporter who wrote that report got his fact before rushing to the press to misinform people. The 2017 edition was sponsored by Pamodzi Sports Marketing and its partners. This is the fact of the matter which is well known by everyone connected with the road race,” observed Itemuagbor in the statement.
Itemuagbor further revealed that the Edo State government only offered to pay the prize money for the only IAAF and AIMS certified road race in the whole of West Africa.
“Edo State government is only involved with the payment of the prize money to the winners which is not anywhere in the region of N70million erroneously reported,” the Pamodzi chief executive clarified.
“Our target is to make the Okpekpe race an IAAF gold labeled event. We want to make Okpekpe race the preferred destination for the world’s best road ruuners just like what the London, Berlin, Boston and New York marathons have become today,” – Itemuagbor said regarding the future of the race.
The 5th edition which was better packaged by Pamodzi Sports Marketing, the franchise owners of the IAAF bronze label race. It lived up to billing with Veronica Maina (34.19) and Alice Timbili (34.39) winning the second and third positions to complete an East African clean sweep. The top three finishers got $15,000, $10,000 and $7,000 in both the male and female categories.