Okpekepe race @ 10: Renowned athletics coach, Nuhu hails organizers for pacesetting feat

One of Nigeria’s most respected distance running coaches, Stephen Nuhu says the world acclaimed and World Athletics Gold Label Okpekpe international 10km
road race has been a blessing to Nigeria.

Nuhu also congratulated organizers of the race on the 10th anniverssary of the historic event which he says has ‘put Nigeria on the map of the world as a
destination for sports’.

‘I want to congratulate the organizers of the race for consistently organizing a world class event every year. It is a testatment to the organizational
ability of Nigerians and I am happy World Athletics acknowledged this with the label status granted the race in 2015 and its subsequent upgrade from silver
to gold,’ said Nuhu.

The Plateau state born coach who is known for producing most of today’s elite long distance runners in Nigeria says Okpekpe race is the only internatonal
road race in Nigeria that does not discriminate between Nigerian elite runners and their foreign counterparts.

‘It is only Okpekpe race that has provided transport subsidy and accommodation for our elite athletes the same way they did for foreign elite athletes.
Whenever we come to Okpekpe, we don’t worry about where to sleep and that has helped the athletes to focus on the race.

‘It has also helped the athletes to mingle with their foreign based counterparts and has provided the platform for exchange of ideas including training
methods and other opportunities.’

Nuhu is particularly grateful to Mike Itemuagbor, the race promoter/organizer for always insisting Nigerian elite distance runners deserve to be treated
equally like those from abroad.

‘I want to say a big thank you to him and for providing our athletes the opportunity to compete in a world class event capable of helping them to secure
qualification to run in big international events like the Olympics.’

The Okpekpe international 10km road race is a Paris Olympics qualifying event but Nuhu understands Nigerian elite athletes will have to break new,
ungfamiliar grounds to take advantage of the opportunity.

‘I know we will have to run 27:00 for men and 30:40 for women to qualify through the Okpekpe platform for the Paris Olympics but we are striving to make sure we produce the first, legal sub-30 minutes runner for men and sub-33 minutes for women.

‘If we are able to achieve that and with the support organizers of road races in Nigeria, especially Okpekpe road race, has been giving, we can improve and
start producing world class distance runners,’ added Nuhu.

The 10th, Gold Label Okpekpe international road race will hold on Saturday May 25 in Okpekpe in Edo state, Nigeria.

The race is the first in Nigeria to get have its course measured by a World Athletics certified course measurer and the first in west Africa to be granted a
World Athletics Label.

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