Top officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) expressed delight over the performance of Nigerian athletes at the maiden edition of the 10KM International Road Race at Okpekpe, Edo state.
AFN President, Chief Solomon Ogba, told Newsmen, shortly after the event, that he was impressed with the finishing positions of the nation’s athletes, describing it as a good improvement.
“I am happy that our athletes came seventh, which is not bad to me. We will just keep exposing them to competitions.
“They have really improved for them to have been able to clinch these positions; it is interesting,” he said.
Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, the Technical Director, AFN, said the performance was a welcome development.
“It is a welcome development because the athletes have tried and they need to be commended,” he said.
Nesiama, however, added that the athletes would be worked on, to ensure that they mastered the techniques of long distance races.
“I believe that with adequate training, these athletes will move up the medals table in Africa,” he said.
Moses Masai of Kenya, the overall winner of the race, returned a time of 29 mins, 39 secs; Timothy Troitich of Uganda came second in 29 mins, 44 secs, while Yusuf Bitwott of Kenya finished in the third position in 29 mins, 50 secs.
In the women’s event, Rono Georgina of Kenya won in 33 mins, 01 secs; Deko Zemzem Ahmed of Ethiopia returned 34 mins, 31 secs, for the second position, while Sofia Shemsu, also of Ethiopia, came third in 36 mins, 11 secs.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s best athlete in the race, Ismaila Sadjo, returned a time of 31 mins, 06 secs; while its second–place finisher, Adamu Muazu, coasted home in 32 mins, 02 secs.
Gideon Goyet, Nigeria’s third top athlete, covered the distance in 32 mins, 29 secs.
In the Nigerian women’s category, Deborah Pam returned a time of 37 mins, 34 secs, while Janet Dung, who finished in the second position coasted home in 38 mins, 24 secs.
Aminat Olowora, placed third in39mins, 05 secs.
Reports have it that about 700 athletes participated in the event.