Over 2,000 athletes are expected to participate in this year’s Onitsha City Marathon, which holds September 30.
The Director, Onitsha Business School, the organisers of the event, Prof. Olusegun Sogbesan, stated this during a press conference in Onitsha, Anambra State, adding that it was time Nigeria tapped from the huge potential in the sports sector, which had become serious business globally.
Sogbesan disclosed that the organisers have earmarked a total of $400,000 for victorious foreign contestants and N10m for the local athletes at the event.
He added that the aim of Onitsha Business School in promoting the marathon was to unveil the huge economic dimension in sports, which many local athletes and other Nigerians were not yet aware of.
He said, “This year’s marathon will feature five international elite athletes, who are in the top 300 in the world. We are bringing them in from various countries, and up to 20 other foreign athletes will participate.
“We aim at featuring over 2,000 local athletes, and we will have up to 50 viewing centres across Anambra and Delta states for people who cannot make it to Onitsha to watch the race live.
“Everyday, we have people who throng the streets for recreational purposes, but they do it just for fitness sake. We want to bring the economic dimensions to this fitness. We want young men to know that they can earn money from what they do.
“This is the initiative that we at Onitsha Business School have brought up as our social responsibility to both Onitsha, our immediate environment, and Nigeria. We want to put Onitsha on the map as a sports place, beyond the buying and selling that the city has become known for.”