Nigerian athletes hoping to take part in the third edition of the annual Okpekpe Road Race on May 16, 2015 have been assured by the organisers of the Okpekpe 10km Road Race of some local races to prepare them for the event.
Coordinator of the event, Yusuf Alli, told journalists in Lagos that two States have confirmed their readiness to host road races before the Okpekpe Road Race 2015, an IAAF Road Race Bronze label, in May.
“There is need to prepare our athletes well ahead of the competition so that they can compete favourably with their counterpart from other part of the world,” said Alli.
“We are looking forward to a Nigerian winning the race instead of the foreigners that have been winning it from inception.
“The target is to have a Nigerian finishing within the top five starting from this year. That is why we are going to be having some road races prior the competition in May."
“We have Akwa Ibom already looking forward to having a road race between now and May, we will be having another one in Port Harcourt. Those are the ones I can confirm now,” he added.
Yusuf Alli, the 1990 Commonwealth Games Long Jump champion and Nigerian record-holder, also revealed the level of preparedness for the competition, stating that the prototype for the start and finishing line is ready.
Alli said: “We already have the prototype of how the start line map and the finishing line will look like. Like I said before our ambition is to get the Gold Label, and we need to get the Silver Label first and we can only achieve that if we have a successful competition.
“We have contacted an expert in road race from Germany, Walter Mayer, to come and advice us more on the way forward. The target is for him to come and look at the place and advise us on how we can improve on what we have on ground currently."