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SPORTS UPDATE

Abuja International Marathon confirms more elite runners

Determined to achieve its objective of becoming the first full marathon in Nigeria to have an elite field that will run a sub 2hrs: 10 mins, the Abuja International Marathon has signed more elite runners for its inaugural race slated for 17 December.

In a statement signed by the Race Director Olukayode Thomas, the Abuja International Marathon Managing Director Zsuzsanna Ogunmiloyo disclosed that the 17 December race will also include a 10 km fun race.

This is apart from the full marathon which will start at the City Gate and take runners through the most beautiful parts of Abuja and the 5km race for youths and children in their early teens.

According to Ms Ogunmiloyo, the newly signed elite runners are Emmanuel Naibei with a personal best of 2:08:27, Josphat Kiprop Kiptis with a personal best of 2:13:47, and Benard Sang with a personal best of 2:10:59.

They also include two women Beatrice Cherop with a personal best of 2:31:07 and Esther Macharia with a personal best of 2:27:15

Earlier, Ms Ogunmiloyo confirmed the signing of four gold labelled runners: two men and two women they are Andrew Kimtai, who boasts a personal best of 2:08 32. Gilbert Masai, with a personal best of 2:09:49, and two female runners, Caroline Jepchirchir with a personal best of 2:26, and Naomi Maiyo with a personal best of 2:30.

Ms Ogunmiloyo, who was in Birmingham, England for the 2022 Commonwealth to support the Team Nigeria contingent, said discussions are ongoing with some elite Nigerian athletes who won medals and posted globally acclaimed records at the Commonwealth Games to be part of the Abuja International Marathon.

‘”The weeks leading to the Abuja International Marathon will be a celebration of the best of Nigeria sports. Apart from the Marathon Expo which starts December 1 and ends December 16, we have so many other activities which include elite athletes from Nigeria and other parts of the world organizing clinics for pupils from schools in different parts of FCT.

“We are going to celebrate the best of FCT and a lot of positives about Nigeria,’’ she said

About 200 elite runners will participate in the Abuja International Marathon – 80 from different parts of the world and 120 from Nigeria.

‘’We are working closely with the High Altitude Club of Jos and other elite running clubs in Nigeria. Our aim is to see Nigerians excel in middle distance races, long distance, road races, marathons, and other aspects of athletics not only in Nigeria but worldwide.

“We have the potential to achieve this and the dream of Unicentral Resources Generation Limited, the licensee of Abuja International Marathon, is ensuring we achieved that potential soon,’’ said Ms Ogunmiloyo.

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