8th Access Bank Lagos City Marathon: Syrian refugees, others battle for $50,000 top prize
• Organisers Dangle Extra $10,000 On Athletes
For the first time since the commencement of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, a total of 16 refugees from different parts of the world, including Syria, will compete with elite athletes as the 8th edition holds today.
After 12 years of conflict, the Syrian refugee crisis remains the largest displacement in the world. Nearly 5.6 million registered refugees, including more than 2.6 million children reside in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Türkiye.
At a world press conference in Lagos yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of Nilayo Sports Management, organiser of the race, Bukola Olopade, stated that the refugees from Syria and other countries would compete in today’s event, the first Gold-Label marathon to hold in Nigeria.
Olopade also stated that the prize money for the 2024 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon would increase, just as he thanked the various sponsors for their support so far.
Also speaking yesterday, the General Manager of the race, former long jumper, Yusuf Alli, disclosed that an additional sum of $10,000 had been set aside for any athlete, who finish the race below 2hours, 10 minutes.
“This is the first edition of the Gold-Label Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, and our focus is get some athletes who can run below 2hours and 10minutes to boost our chances of securing the Platinum Label status as soon as possible. The extra $10,000 will serve as a moral booster for the runners. There is also extra $1,000 for any athlete who can finish the race below 2hours, 11minutes,” Alli stated.
The President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Chief Tonobok Okowa commended the organisers, Nilayo Sports Management, for its foresight and managerial capability in winning the Gold-Label status within a short period.
Officials from World Athletics arrived in Lagos yesterday for today’s marathon event, which will flag off at the front of National Stadium, Surulere at 7.00am.
Ethiopia’s Hayla Bazu Worku is leading the team of foreign world-class runners at the Gold-Label race.
Worku is one of the fastest full marathon runners in the world, having participated in six World-class marathons finishing in less than 2hours 9 minutes.
The 2014 Houston Marathon winner, ran his fastest time of 2:05:25, when he finished third place at the Berlin Marathon in 2010. He ran a time of 2:06:16, when he finished second at the Paris Marathon in 2009, ran 2:06:47 to place 6th at the Zurich Marathon in 2020 and ran 2:07:09 at the Dubai Standard Chartered Marathon in 2015, where he placed 6th.
In 2014, Worku ran 2:07:32 at the Houston Marathon where he emerged champion. He ran 2:08:48 at the Praha Marathon in 2017, where he finished second place.