Edo State Deputy Governor Comrade Philip Shaibu said the globally acclaimed and historic Okpekpe 10km International Road Race is coming back bigger and bigger this year.
Shaibu also reiterated the state government’s commitment to maintaining its historic and number one status in Nigeria, indeed West Africa.
“The Okpekpe 10km International Road Race is back this year with the eighth edition and it has come to stay,” Comrade Shaibu said at the Wednesday press conference in Benin announcing this year’s race. The deputy governor rejected insinuations that he is against organizing the race.
The race is a regular fixture on the state calendar, as it is on the World Athletics schedule. Nobody, not even me, comrade Philip Shaibu can kill the race,” he added and revealed that plans were in full gear to institutionalize the race.
“We had a meeting with Pamodzi Sports marketing, the main organizer of the race and we agree on the need to institutionalize it so that it can live after us. This is the level of commitment shown by the Edo state government,’ he said and revealed other benefits of the race for the people and the state government. ‘Edo.
Read also: Nigeria Vs CIV: match officials arrive in Abuja
“The race has helped the state government showcase the giant strides it has made and is making in the state’s infrastructural development, both rural and urban. “It also elevated Okpekpe’s status to a city as it is already on the world map as a sports destination of sorts.”
Comrade Shaibu insists that racing will continue to score first when it comes to road racing in Nigeria.
“We are pleased to be the first road race in Nigeria to have its course measured by a World Athletics Certified Measurer and the first to become a member of AIMS.
“The Okpekpe race is also the first to receive a World Athletics label in West Africa and our aim now is to become the first gold labeled road race in Nigeria,” he revealed. Continuing, the Deputy Governor of Edo State said the ultimate goal is to become the first road race likely in Africa to be awarded a platinum label.
The highlight of the press conference was the unveiling of the high-end multifunctional headgear that will serve as a face mask for the race in Okpekpe. “You can see we are ready for the race. For us in Edo State, we are following all the established rules, especially when it comes to the health of athletes and good people in the state,” he said. The Deputy Governor further revealed that all athletes taking part in the race this year will undergo an antigen test for Covid-19.