By Africa Today
Participated athletes of the 2019 first Brotherhood of the Cross and Star Marathon, Calabar, has expressed joy over the exercise, saying it is a veritable tool that will gainfully engage the youths and keep them out of social vices.
Some of the athletes that spoke with AFRICA TODAY while appreciating the gesture of the Mission, also called on the organizers of the Marathon to increase the reward from ten (10) athletes to fifty (50) and also turned it into a national event.
Flagging off the marathon, tagged “Race for Peace” in Calabar, on Saturday 20th day of July 2019, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mrs. Mary-Jane Ebri, said the race is an avenue to discover talents and also to galvanised the talents for positive purpose.
The National President, Nigeria Association of Athletic Technical Official and the Competition Director, Prof Ogunjimi Lukas Olusegun, while speaking on the preparedness for the competition, said the athletes have undergone medicals to ascertain their physical and mental competency.
Ogunjimi who pegged the number of athletes at 77, to include 61 male and 16 female, said the athletes were drawn from different states in the country and some African Countries.
He maintained that the competition, though included some elite athletes, but, the intention is to give everybody the opportunity to prove their worth.
The international Chairman of the Organising Committee of Universal Youth Fellowship, BCS, His Grace, ArchBishop Tom Inyang Akpan, on his part, said the intention is to make the competition a yearly event, noting that the prizes for first category for male and female is N200,000, second category for both gender is N100,000 and third place N50,000.
Others are; from fourth position to tenth, N10,000, positing that they intend to enhance the amount next year.
Akpan averred that the intention clearly is to preach the message of peace having taken into cognizance the rampaging killings all over the country in the form of Communal Clashes, Banditry, Boko Haram, Kidnapping, and Militancy among others.
However, the Director of Sports, while disclosing that the marathon was a ten kilometres (10km) race, said the race was categorized into junior, intermediate and senior, with the kids said to cover one kilometer, intermediates, 5km and the seniors 10km.
The race which started at the UJ Esuene Stadium through the Carnivals routes, finished in the stadium, with Sadjo Ishmael representing Cross River emerging the winner with 32:19:38, Adamu Muazu, representing Plateau State coming second with 32:19:74, and Hamadjan Sondi, third position with 33:20:74.
Others were; Isaac Eluwa, David Daplin, Daniel Asensio, Moses Akumale among others.
However, in the female category, Olude Fadekemi came first with 39:15:74, Bassey Mfon-Obong came second with 41:13:84 and Jatto Loveline 41:53:73, Onah Angela Ohuna 42:47:83.
Highpoint of the event was presentation of prizes to the winners as well as the celebration of a 14-year old Moses Akumale who emerged 7th position having completing the 10km with 39:03:60 in the male category.