23 February 2013

Nigeria: Lagos Desperately Needs Marathon, Says AFN Boss

Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN president, Solomon Ogba has declared that Lagos is desperately in need of a world class marathon race, after the Lagos International ½ Marathon was rested in 2009.

Ogba stated that it was regrettable that the Lagos International ½ Marathon has gone into oblivion, but added that discussions are on with the Lagos State government to revive the event, which received recognition from the world athletics ruling body IAAF and attracted top athletes from around the world.

"Lagos is a popular City and it is a destination for tourism. It is rather unfortunate that the Lagos marathon was allowed to die, it is a window of opportunity for visitors to explore the City.

"However, we have plans to revive it. We are in talks with the Lagos State government and when the time comes we will see how it goes."

"Besides, there is a need to have a marathon culture in Nigeria. This is because we have countries like Kenya coming into our traditional strong holds and so we must make every effort to have athletes in the long distance events too," said Ogba.

Telecoms company MTN sponsored the Lagos ½ Marathon for five years. The AFN signed a new deal with rival brand Globacom, but that romance seems to have run into cold water. Ogba stated that the contract with Globacom has expired and the AFN is looking for a new partner.

However, an official of Globacom disclosed that they still have a contract with the AFN.

"We only have issues with the AFN and we are still in talks. It was the death of Sunday Bada that stalled the talks," he said.

The last edition of the Lagos international half marathon was held in 2009 with world elite runners like Lornah Kiplagat, Hilda Kibet starring in the women's category, while in the men's event, athletes Luke Kibet, Tsegaye Kedebe and Dieudonne Disi were in attendance. Ethiopia's legend Halie Gebrselassie was a guest.

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