By Peter Okolie
The promoters of the first ever Onitsha City Marathon, known as the Onitsha Business School, says it has secured authorisation to organise the tournament in the commercial city of Anambra.
The Chairman, Media and Publicity of the race, Mr Philip Balepo, stated this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Onitsha on Saturday.
Balepo said that the Proprietor of the business school, Prof. Olusegun Sogbesan, received the certificates of approval by agents of the Association of International Marathon and Distance Races (AIMS) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
According to him, a well known marathon organiser, Nigeria’s Yusuf Alli, presented the two certificates for the 10-kilometer and 21-kilometre races to Sogbesan in Lagos.
“The 21 kilometres cover the half marathon while the 10 kilometres represent a road race in the mode of Okpekpe Road Race, which has held in Okpekpe Town, Edo in the last seven years.
“The certificates gave authority to the Onitsha marathon organisers to simultaneously stage the two races in one.
“Those calibres of races are dominated by elite athletes coming from many parts of the world,” he further stated.
Balepo explained that the certificates had a life span of five years.
He said that the authority meant that the race would be organised between now and 2023, when the certificates would be due for renewal.
“This is the first time that certificates would be presented to an organiser ahead of the race.
“Even the Okpekpe Road Race Promoter, Mike Itemuagbo, was presented with the certificate a few years after commencement of the race,” Balepo noted.
NAN reports that the AIMS/IAAF-certified international marathon, slated for Oct. 5, would be the first to be organised in the South-East.