A Kenyan-born French runner, Abraham Kiprotich, yesterday emerged new champion at the third Access Bank Lagos City Marathon. KIiptroch finished ahead of the over 80,000 runners from across the world, posting a new course record of 2hrs:13:04secs in the process.
Two other Kenyans, Kibos Roony and Bitok Benjamin, finished in 2nd and third place with a time of 2.13.26 and 2:13:29 respectively.In the female category, it was an-all Ethiopians affair, as they claimed the first, second and third positions.
However, in the Nigeria category (42km) race, Iliya Pam kept his promise of defending his title, as he finished ahead of his compatriots in a time of 2hrs.40.16. Sharabutu Philibus was the second Nigerian to cross the finish line, while Williams Keffas made the podium in third place with a time of 2hrs: 58:16
There was a drama in the male category of the newly introduced 10km race, where Adamu Shehu Muazu, who finished ahead of all the others, was stripped of his title, and a brand new GAC car. Muazu, an athlete with the Nigerian Custom, was disqualified on the ground that he had ran as professional athlete at other 10km races in the past. The 10km family race was purely for non-professional runners.
Muazu had told The Guardian shortly after finishing the race that he would present the new GAC car as a gift to his wife in Jos. He wept after his disqualification.As a result, Sadjo Ishmael was declared as the winner with a time of 30minutes: 56:01, while Stephen Daylop and Gorgum Loka were second and third respectively.
In the female category of the 10km race, Akusho Rose won with a time of 36minutes:17: 70, while Faustina Oguh and Onah Sale came second and third respectively. Meanwhile, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has vowed to do everything possible to train some Nigerians athletes to give the Kenyans and Ethiopians a stiff challenge for the top positions in two years time.
Speaking at the closing ceremony yesterday, Ambode said: "I am tired of handing over these huge amount of money to the Kenyans at ever editions of the marathon race. Now, I will deplore coaches to Jos to train some athletes, and within two years, they will give the Kenyans a run for their money."