No fewer than 2,000 runners, including 30 elite athletes, have confirmed participation in the Ikogosi Marathon race billed for Ikogosi-Ekiti on Saturday, the organisers have revealed, even as Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has assured participants in the race of adequate security and conducive environment for a hitch-free competition.
Mr Fayemi who spoke in his office Tuesday evening when the organisers of the Marathon race led by Niyi Labiran presented him with his race materials. He said his administration will continue to provide platforms for citizens of the state, especially the youth, to showcase their talents.
The governor who restated his administration's commitment to youth development, said his administration would continue to partner with relevant organisations in the bid to build the capacity of Ekiti youth and develop sports in the state.
Mr Fayemi said his government would provide necessary support for the Ikogosi Marathon race and other sporting initiatives in the state in order to bring them to global standard.
The governor who said that the development of sports at the grassroots was a major agenda of the Youth and Sports Development ministry in the state, said the state is eager to produce world class sports men and women.
"It is our desire to engage our youths positively and that explains our huge investment in their education and human capital development. It is my belief that platforms like the Ikogosi Marathon will help discover more talents which we will then nurture."
Speaking also, Mr Labiran, the Managing Director of the Ikogosi Marathon Initiative, thanked the governor for his love for sports development and support for the marathon race.
Mr Labiran revealed that no fewer than 2,000 participants, including 30 elite athletes have confirmed their participation in the marathon race, which is the first in the state. According to him, the 2,000 participants had already collected their race materials (including jersey, number and other items), since the collection exercise commenced on Monday. He added that 5,000 had registered online, while collection of materials continue until Friday.
The state commissioner for youth and sports development, Michael Awopetu, also said the state government has mapped out plans to nurture talents that are discovered in the marathon race and other age-grade sporting competitions in the state.