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11-year-old Ogunbowale gets cash, accolades at Bigi sponsored Ijebu-Ode Heritage marathon

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11-year-old Abigael Ogunbowale at the maiden Ijebu Heritage Half-Marathon at Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu-Ode

• East Africans Swept top prizes
There was no much challenge for athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia as they took the shine at the maiden edition of the Ijebu-Ode Heritage Half Marathon powered by Rite Foods Limited, makers of the Bigi range of drinks.

The 21 kilometer marathon was won by Kenya’s Hosea Kiplimo who finished the race in 1:02:36 seconds, while his counterpart from Ethiopia, Rhonzas Kilimo finished second in 1:02:57secs, followed by Kenya’s Timothy Ronoh, who crossed the line in 1:02:59secs.

The women’s race was also won by another Kenyan, Sandra Chebet in a time of 1:10:42secs, with two Ethiopians – Gebaynesh Ayele, (second), and Beyenu Degefa, (third), with a time of 1:10:52secs and 1:11:02 respectively.

Two indigenes of Ijebu, Femi Olusanya, a Police Officer, and an 11-year-old Abigael Ogunbowale also hit the limelight at the event.

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Olusanya became the ‘first Ijebu man’ to complete the race, while Abigael, became a star and the first woman to get to the finish point of the 21 kilometers marathon, which ended at the Dipo Dina Stadium.

In appreciation of her effort, Managing Director of Rite Foods Limited, Mr. Seleem Adegunwa, rewarded Abigael Ogunbowale with N250, 000, adding that they are looking forward to making the competition better next year.

He maintained that it was a wonderful beginning, seeing a girl of such age competing with international stars, and also encouraged her to sustain the stride.

According to him, Rite Foods is proud to identify with worthy initiatives that add value to lives, as demonstrated in the just concluded Bigi soft Drinks’ sponsored Nigerian Idol music reality show for budding artists.

“I really want to give kudos to all the athletes who started and finish the race. We are looking at making it better next year.

“As the son of the soil, I will continue to promote activities that will bring honour to our people by bringing event of this nature home. I was not surprised today to see a 55-year-old and 11-year-old finishing the race. We are naturally gifted and we need to improve on our talents.”

“We intends to do more in sports with Abeokuta Marathon also coming up later in the year, and we are looking forward to activities like that to develop existing talent to make the nation proud,” Adegunwa said.

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