Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Obiekwe Rues Marathon Ouster

As the London 2012 Olympics women marathon is decided, Nigeria's previously listed entry Esther Obiekwe continues to lament her ouster from the race due to injury.

She would have made history by becoming the first Nigerian non-professional athlete to participate in the Games, but after straining her ankle in an off-field incident, she was withdrawn from the event.

"As the only amateur slated for this race my sole aim is to depict the Olympic slogan which is to "inspire a generation," said the running banker.

Obiekwe who has participated in several of the world marathon majors as the sole Nigerian representative, including Berlin and Boston Marathons.

She was tapped by Athletics Federation of Nigeria as an exempt (non qualified) participant in the marathon, and she with Diamond Bank personally financed her travel and participation as an exempt athlete meaning AFN bore non of the costs.

"Given my times relative to the Olympic field, it is crucial I step to the starting line at peak fitness, so I represent my country with pride and honor. I now recognize I am unable to ensure this"

Over 120 women are in the start list of the race to be run this morning. The top three athletes barring any circumstances are Mary Keitany of Kenya, Tiki Gelena and Meriga Asefech of Ethiopia.

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