BY GODWIN AIKIGBE
Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Solomon Dalung was thrilled by Austin Jay-Jay Okocha’s participation in the 3rd edition of Lagos City Marathon on Saturday.
Dalung stated in a tweet that the presence of the former Nigeria captain and other notable ex Nigerian sports stars serves as morale booster to young and aspiring athletes.
He congratulated the Akinwunmi Ambode-led Lagos State Government on the successful organisation of the event that grows in leaps and bounds.
He stated: “The presence of JJ Okocha and some of our ex-internationals served a great morale boost to our young and aspiring athletes, let’s keep this passion alive and we shall be greater and better.#RunLagos #LagosCityMarathon2018.
“It gets bigger and better every year! Congratulations to Lagos state government & Access Bank for making this a reality. Congratulations to our athletes who all came from across the globe 🌎 to participate in this spectacular event.
Okocha and former national basketball team Captain, D’Tigers, Olumide Oyedeji, were two of several notable former Nigerian sports stars that took part in the race featuring 100,000 participants and which started at exactly 6.30 a.m. at the National Stadium and ended at the Eko Atlantic City in Victoria Island in spite of an early morning rain.
Frenchman Abraham Kiprotich won the 42km race, with the Kenyan born 32-year-old finishing in 2:13:04hrs, to cart away the grand prize of $50,000.
Abraham’s time set a new Lagos Marathon record, three minutes better than the record set by his fellow compatriot, Abraham Kiptum in the second edition of tourney held last year.
Kenyan duo of Ronny Kipkoech Kiboss and Benjamin Bitok came second and third finishing in 2:13:23hrs and 2:13:29hrs, winning $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.
In the female category, it was a clean sweep by Ethiopia as the trio of Alemenesh Herpha Guta, Tigst Girma Getayechew and Ayelu Abebe Hordofa came first, second and third to win $50,000, $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.
Iliya Pam was the first Nigerian to finish the 42km race in 2:40:19hrs to win N3m, while Sharubutu Philbus came second in 2:54:16hrs to win N2m and Kefas Williams also got on the medals table finishing third in a time of 2:58:1hrs to win the third prize of N1m.
There were also prizes for Nigerians in the newly introduced 10km race, which saw Sajo Ismaila (male) and Ona Salay (female) drive home a brand new saloon car each and other mouth watering prizes.
The 10km race also began from Osborne and terminated also at the Eko Atlantic City.
Aside from Dalung, other dignitaries at the event are; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; representative of Chief of Army Staff, Major General David Amadu; General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Major General, Enobong Okon Udoh; President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick; ex-Super Eagles International, Austin Jay Jay Okocha; British High Commissioner to Nigeria and Mr. Paul Arkwright.