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Lagos City Marathon organisers, athletes quarrel over delayed ‘prize monies’

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• Payment will begin in July, says Olopade
Organisers of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon have expressed disappointment at the ‘attitude’ of some athletes, who are said to be grumbling over delay in payment of their entitlements five months after the end of the 2020 edition of the race.

The Lagos City Marathon was held on February 8, 2020 with 10 Nigerian runners crossing the finish line in the 42km, while five Nigerians were victorious in the 10km category. Three other Nigerians were winners in the Special Athletes category.

According to an online report, over N11.6 million, including a KIA Salon car, were promised victorious Nigerian athletes in the 10km race. The report indicated that the athletes were grumbling over delay in getting their entitlement.

However, organisers of the event, Nilayo Sports Management, explained yesterday that the outbreak of COVID-19, which stopped sporting activities and businesses around the world since March, led to the delay in payment of prize monies to eligible Nigerian athletes, who excelled at the 2020 edition.

Chief Executive Officer of Nilayo Sports Management, Bukola Olopade said such protests by the athletes over delay in payment were uncalled for.

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He asked: “When did the country open up to business? March to May was lockdown. We have even informed the World Athletics that due to rise in dollars, we may not pay international runners until July/August.

Olopade, a former sports commissioner in Ogun State added: “We have always paid every runner, why the noise? It is not because we do not have money, but because of COVID-19 lockdown. I was even sick, and the whole world knew about it. We are working on it now, and no one should blackmail or stampede us.”

Olopade announced that payments of all prize monies would begin in July, stating that as with other marathons in the world, payments of prize monies only commence after organisers had received the doping tests results.

“Due to the unforeseen situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown order, all operations as directed by the Federal Government was suspended and company operations is set to fully commence in the first week of July.

“Since the inception of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, runners have never been owed longer than the usual window provided by the World Athletics. We always pay runners their winnings.

“This year is a peculiar year. The lockdown delayed the doping tests results, which are a very important requirement for paying runners in compliance with the World Athletics standards. We have a good reputation for excellence in Nigeria and the rest of the world, and we are very concerned about the happiness of our runners whom we have informed of this development through their agents,” Olopade stated.

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