We’ll reposition sports through marathon — Ambode

EKOCITY MAGAZINE with Agency report — Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State says his administration has begun steps to reposition sports in the state, assuring that no stone will be left unturned to achieve the aspiration.

Ambode made the assertion as he presented prizes to the winners of the 2nd Access Bank Lagos City Marathon at the Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Kenyans again showed their dominance of the long distance races by winning the first four positions in the male and female international elite categories.

The 42km race, held on February 11, had 55,000 registered athletes.

Abraham Kiptom of Kenya, who won the first edition, showed his prowess by defending his title with a time of 2:15:23, while his compatriot, Ronny Kipkoech Kiboss, returned a time of 2:15:25 to be second.

Kiptrotich Kiroi came third with 2:15:30, Tuwei Dickson also a Kenyan came fourth with 2:16:50, while Dabi Tadesse Yae of Ethiopia came fifth with 2:16:57.

Raimond Bet of Kenya came sixth with 2:17:01 and his compatriot, Jonathan Kiptoo, was seventh with a time of 2:17:36, while Frani Kiokom Nzyokkeny won the eighth position with 2:18:47 02.

The ninth position was claimed by Regasa Mndaye Bejiga of Ethiopia with 02:19:24, and the 10th position was won by Limo Kenneth Kiplagat of Kenya by 2:20:07.

In the female category, Tanui Rodah of Kenya won the race by 2:37:52, followed by compatriots Fridah Lodepa, in the second position with 2:38:22 and Alice Timbilili with a time of 2:39:02 in the third.

Emily Chekemoi Samoei also of Kenya came fourth with a time of 02:39:22, Birke Debele Beyene of Ethiopia was fifth with 2:40:48 and Sifan Melaku Damisie of Ethiopia came sixth with 2:40:49.

The seventh position was won by Naomi Jepkogei Maiyo of Kenya with 2:42:20, Doreen Nduku Kitaka of Kenya returned eighth position with 2:43:50.

Chemweno Elizabeth Jeruiyot of Kenya placed ninth with 02:44:51, while Nancy Joan Rotich of Kenya won the 10th position with 2:49:22.

Ambode said the success of the tournament marked another leg of the government’s dreams to make Lagos State the destination for sports in Africa.

The governor said the state would continue to explore and attract regional, continental and global sports events to drive home its mission, adding that the all-round development of youths through sports remained paramount.

Ambode said: “Our commitment to continue to support our youth in sports development is resolute, a path that we cannot depart from.

“The Access Bank Lagos City Marathon is a testimony to this avowed commitment.”

Ambode said it was gratifying that the Marathon attracted the presence of the Athletics Federations Presidents from other countries and participation of elite athletes from four continents, 15 countries and about 55,000 athletes overall.

Expressing delight on the interest and participation of thousands of Nigerians in the Marathon, Ambode said the event had set a foundational infrastructure to put the state on the world map.

He said: “This mind blowing attendance underscores our determination to occupy a prime place in the Marathon Calendar worldwide and ultimately to be among the top 10 Marathon races in the world.

“My administration will remain committed to supporting outstanding athletes on the local front and ensure proactive measures that will encourage and challenge them to excel.

“We are hugely encouraged by the local participation which coincides with our mission on the Marathon.”

Ambode noted that the state’s collaboration with Access Bank Plc, Seven Up Bottling Company, Bet Naija and Eko Atlantic City is a template the government intended to replicate in various sports across board.

Ambode said beyond the Marathon, the government would continue to use sports to drive inclusion and engagement of the citizenry, especially the youths.

He added that Tourism, Arts and Entertainment would remain the cornerstone and pillars of support of his social contract with Lagosians and the international community.

Ambode said: “In support of this, we have put in place a structured process of providing additional sports infrastructure in the various zones of the state.

“The target is to ensure that no child is denied the opportunity of interaction with sports as early as possible in life, while potential for career in sports can be identified for proper development.’’

The governor announced that the next edition of the Marathon would hold on February 10, 2018.

Herbert Wigwe, the Managing Director of Access Bank, major sponsor of the event, said that apart from showcasing the fact that Lagos is truly a safe place, it had all the traits of world class tourney.

Wigwe said the marathon was also a pointer to the fact that Lagos was ready to receive the international world for business.

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