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Ali expects new meet record, world lead at Okpekpe


Nigeria’s long jump record holder, Yusuf Ali is confident a new competition record and a new world lead will be set on Saturday May 16 at the third Okpekpe 10km road race in Edo State.

Ali, a two-time IAAF World Championship long jump finalist, is also not closing the door on a possible world record at the event going by the quality of elite cast registered for the IAAF bronze label road race.

The world record for men stands at 26:44 minutes set by Kenya’s Leonard Patrick Komon in 2010, while Britain’s Paula Radcliffe holds the women’s record of 30:21 minutes set in 2003.

The competition’s record of 29:39 minutes for men is held by Ethiopia’s Teshome Asafan, while his countrywoman, Wuday Ayalew, holds the women’s record of 32:41 minutes.
“I am confident we are going to see a fast race in Okpekpe next weekend. The quality of athletes that will be on parade is what is giving me this confidence.

“In the men’s race, for example, we have two of the four fastest men in the world so far this year. The duo of Amos Kiplimo Mitei of Kenya, who has ran 27:58 this year and Dawi Fikadu, who also holds a personal and season’s best of 28:04, are capable of running faster and that can only mean a new world lead (27:47) currently held by Kenya’s Japhet Kipyegon Korir and certainly a new
competition record,” he said.

Ali believes the $25,000 top prize is also a motivating factor for the athletes to go the extra mile.
“This is one of the highest paying 10km road races in the world and the desire to win the top prize will certainly push these athletes to run well and fast,” he further said and assured that whatever record (s) set will be ratified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
“All times run and records set will be accepted by the IAAF and the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), an association of long-distance running races because the race will be organised in accordance with IAAF rules.

“If you must know, the course has been measured by an accredited AIMS/IAAF course measurer, Solomon Abari. In fact, all races that have IAAF Road Race Label Events have been subject to AIMS/IAAF course measurement standards,” adds Ali, a former technical director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), who was once an African, Commonwealth and World Universities Games long jump champion.

The Okpekpe 10km course, which starts from Apama Road and ends in Okpekpe, will be closed to vehicular traffic with the exclusion of official vehicles for the duration of the event until the published cut-off time.
“The start will be traffic free until the last runner has started and the Finish will be traffic free until the last runner finishes or the cut-off time is reached,” he concluded.

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