Kenyan athletes on Saturday came first and third in the male category of the annual IAAF certified 10km Okpekpe race, while they made a clean sweep in the female category.
Alex Korio of Kenya won with 29 minutes, 20 seconds to come first while Leigh Gabriesileshe of Ethiopia came second with a time of 29 minutes 22 seconds and Amos Muteh of Kenya came third with a time of 29 minutes, 24 seconds.
In the female category, Tanui Nkele of Kenya came first with a time of 33:34, while Rino Ripo also of Kenya came second with a time of 33:52. Mary Wasera made it a clean sweep for the Kenyans with a time of 34:31 to come third.
In the VIP race, Governor Adams Oshiomhole came tops with a time of 88 minutes.
The first prize winners in both the male and female categories went home with $25,000 each, while the second prize winners got $15,000 each. The third prize winners in both categories got $10,000 each.
Speaking at the ceremony, Governor Oshiomhole said his administration’s investment in opening up rural communities through massive construction of modern roads in the rural areas has continued to yield positive results.
He expressed joy that the 10km race is now an Internationally-recognized and accredited Athletic event and has not only opened up the community but has placed it on the world map thereby exposing it to speedy development He said, “I am excited that Okpekpe community is not only now on the world map but people from various parts of the world, from various countries from various continents are now participating actively in what has become known as the Okpekpe Annual 10Km race and we saw that this year we have more participants than previous years and by logic, we will expect that every year, more and more people will participate in it.
“I think for me, this is one practical way to remind all of us that there is life outside urban city and that the real Nigerians, the forgotten majority are in our rural areas. So Okpekpe people I congratulate you for playing host to all of us.
Mr. Oshiomhole continued, “I am satisfied that part of our objective of rural development policy has been achieved by the growing interest which this competition has continued to attract but I will feel more fulfilled if our industrialists, our bankers, our investors can complement this efforts by taking off corporate industries and other business activities. That is the only way we can increase the prosperity of our rural people.
“I want to congratulate all those who have participated in this year’s edition. I congratulate of course those who are going away with prizes, but we should even congratulate more those who are not going away with prizes but who participated in this exercise. I think I am one of those who will not be going away with a prize in spite of my effort. I want to congratulate myself just as the winner congratulated himself because doing the 10km after all the activities of yesterday reassured me that I am still fit”.
Governor Oshiomhole used the opportunity to appeal to industrialists and those involved in the entertainment industry to seize the opportunity created by the beautiful, serene and peaceful environment to bring in industries and entertainment centers that will not only help bring development to the community but also serve in bringing comfort to urban fun seekers.
The 10km Okpekpe race is an annual IAAF Bronze Labeled Road Race. This year’s edition attracted 42 athletes from 15 countries.