Yasin Haji, Chebet lead World-class elites to Okpekpe race
Ethiopia’s Yasin Haji and Kenya’s Sandrafelis Chebet Tuei will lead a world-class elite cast of athletes to the World Athletics Elite Label eighth Okpekpe International 10km Road Race scheduled to hold on Saturday May 28, 2022 in Okpekpe, Edo state.
Haji is the ninth fastest man over the 10km race so far this year courtesy the 27:00 seconds he ran twice in March, and at the end of last month to place second and sixth at the 10km de Lille in Lille, France and at the Adizero Road to Records, Herzogenaurach, Germany, respectively.
He will be challenged for the $20,000 top prize money for the men elite runners by a couple of athletes who have also broken 28 seconds in their career led by fellow Kenyans, Vedic Kipkoech (27.26 personal best), 20 year-old Kiprono Sitonik (27.35 personal best achieved this year at the Laredo 10km race in Spain), Emmanuel Kiplagat (27.50 personal best achieved this year in Laredo) and Josphat Kipchirchir (27.53 personal best).
For the women, Kenya’s Tuei will be the athlete to beat. She has improved her best from the 30.57 she ran in January 2018 to 30:45 last October at the 10-kilometre Valencia Ibercaja in Valencia, Spain.
Tuei will be hotly challenged for the top prize of $20,000 on offer by compatriot and former World U-18 (2017) and African Youth Championships (2018) 3000m champion, Abersh Minsewo, who holds a personal best of 30:58 achieved last November in Lille, France.
Also in with a chance is another Ethiopian, Addisie Mislenew, who ran 31.49 personal best last July in Lens, France. Race Director, Zack Amodu, is confident that a new course record will be set come May 28 in Okpekpe.
“The quality of elite runners for this year’s race is the best so far and this is easy to understand. The new elite road race requirements in place since last November make it mandatory for a World Athletics Elite label race to have at least five athletes per gender who have recorded at least the 28:27 standard set for men and 33:07 set for women.’
“The standards set are way above the course record of 28:35 set for the men by Ethiopia’s Teshome Mekonen and 32.41 set by another Ethiopian, Wude Ayalew at the second edition of the race in 2014,” he stated.
Amodu says the race is returning bigger and better after the covid-19 induced postponements it suffered in 2020 and 2021. Okpekpe road race is a yearly event in Edo State, Nigeria. It is a 10-kilometre road race over hills and tarred roads, starting from Apana Road and ending in Okpekpe town. It is organised by Pamodzi Sports Marketing, leader in sports marketing, sponsorship, hospitality and rights acquisition business with operations in Nigeria.
It is the first road race in Nigeria to have its course measured by a World Athletics accredited measurer, and also the first to be granted a label status, which designates it as one of the leading road races around the world.