As many as 20 gold level running athletes have been confirmed for Saturday’s 7th Okpekpe International 10km Road Race which holds in Okpekpe in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State. The organisers of the event confirmed the development on Monday, Extrasportsnigeria.com reports.
Leading the cast of gold level running athletes are former Okpekpe race winners, Alex Korio and Simon Cheprot of Kenya. Korio won in 2015 (29.20) while Cheprot outran all his rivals the following year (29:47). Both are 27 minutes runners as they hold 27:48 (2017) and 27:41 (2014) respectively.
“Just last June, Cheprot ran 27.44 at Oelde in Germany and looks like he will aiming to become the first man to win two Okpekpe titles,” the Head of Secretariat Mercy Etukudo said.
“We also have Taye Grima, one of the Ethiopians on board the Okpekpe train that will challenge the Kenyans for the title. He has done 28:33 this year (January) and looks to be among the on-form athletes who will be coming to rewrite the course record on Saturday.”
For the women, another former winner, Polline Wanjiku will be leading the charge for the title and possibly set a new course record.
“Wanjiku was the winner in 2016 and ran 33 minutes, 28 seconds to win. She is one of the gold level running athletes that we hope will crack the course record on Saturday.
”We have confirmed 10 male athletes and 10 female gold level running athletes, five silver level and two bronze level running athletes for Saturday’s race. We have 13 with no status as well as the Nigerian elite athletes who also come under no status. We now have the perfect stage to set new marks on Saturday.
“The last time we had athletes who ran under 29 minutes for men and 33 minutes for women was five years ago, precisely 2014 when the Ethiopian duo of Teshome Mekonnen and Wude Ayalew ran 28:35 and 32:41 respectively to set the current course records for men and women.”