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Okpekpe International Road Race gets May 2022 return date

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Runners compete at the 2019 Okpekpe International Road Race. The World Athletics-sanctioned event will return in May 2022.

The eighth edition of the Okpekpe International 10km Road Race will hold in May 2022 in Okpekpe, Edo state of Nigeria, the race organisers, Pamodzi Sports Marketing, has announced.

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The event, the first road race in Nigeria nay West Africa to be granted a label by World Athletics and designated as one of the leading road races around the world, could not hold in 2020 and will not hold in 2021 due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which has continued to disrupt the international sporting calendar.

“We are happy to announce that the eighth edition of the silver-label Okpekpe International 10km Road Race will be held in May 2022,” said Mike Itemuagbor, CEO of Pamodzi Sports Marketing.

“The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic ensured that, like many other label races across the globe, our event could not hold in 2020 and will not hold this year. This is an international race that involves the invitation and participation of foreign athletes and their managers as well as the technical delegates from World Athletics, and the government’s Covid-19 protocols in terms of travel and other logistics have to be enforced, including the lockdown rules introduced by the Nigerian government,” he added before revealing there is light at the end of the dark tunnel of uncertainty the pandemic has caused, particularly to sports.

“We are delighted about the rollout of vaccines which are a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19 that has claimed over 3.1 million lives worldwide. We are confident the world will be a much safer place by next year when the majority would have been vaccinated and we can host the race that has become a festival of sort for road running in Nigeria.”

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Itemuagbor thanked the Edo State government and the race sponsors for their concern and support and assured them that the race will return bigger.

“Our target is to make the race the first gold label road race in West Africa. The race made history in 2015 when it became the first road running event to be granted a bronze label. Two years later, it scored another first as the first silver label road race to hold anywhere in West Africa and our target remains the gold,” he said.

A press conference in conjunction with the Edo state government will be held shortly where the plans for the eighth edition of the race will be unveiled.

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