The country’s athletes have set their sights on competing keenly with their East African counterparts as the Okpekpe 10km road race takes centre stage in Okpekpe, Etsako East Local Government of Edo State on Saturday.
The IAAF Silver Label Race has been won in the last six editions by athletes from East Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia to be precise, but some of the long distance runners in Nigeria have set their targets on achieving something from this year’s edition.
The organisers are targeting a Gold Label after this year’s race and some top athletes from Nigeria believe this will make them perform better running side-by-side some of the top distance runners across the world.
Speaking on Thursday, Emmanuel Gyan, husband of Deborah Pam, another top athlete, said they were ready for the race.
“I have been available for the race in the last six editions, this time around, I am ready to do better than I have been doing in the past,” he said.
“Although we are going to be competing with some of the best in the world, it will only make us better.
“It is not going to be easy, but we are ready and nothing will stop us from getting our dues as athletes in Nigeria.”
On her part, Pam said marriage would not stop her from achieving her goal of coming out on tops at this year’s Okpekpe Race.
Meanwhile, the organisers have announced the arrival of all the athletes expected for the race and will embark on the tour of the course on Friday (today) in line with IAAF requirements.
Head of the race secretariat Mercy Etukudo said this year’s event would be explosive as only the best athletes over the 10km distance have been assembled for the race.