Access Bank Lagos City Marathon: Nigerian athletes target national record, Olympic qualification

Whatapp News

Lagos – Some athletes in the country expecting to participate at the forthcoming Access Bank Lagos City Marathon said they are targeting a new national record and qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
This is contained in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
The statement was signed by Olukayode Thomas, the Spokesperson of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
It said that the athletes were not just looking at the prize money.
“One of them is Jos-born long distance runner Emmanuel Gyang who has said that he will be aiming for another national record,” it said.
The statement noted that a star-cast of athletes across the world were expected to grace the maiden Lagos City Marathon.
It said that for Gyang, running alongside the big guns from Kenya, Ethiopia and other parts of the world, would help him lower the 42km national record.
The statement said that the record currently stood at 2:16:06secs set by Mohammed Abass, for almost three decades.
“I have already started my training and by God’s grace, I want to set a new record in my first big outing in a full marathon,” it quoted Gyang as saying.
Gyang, who set a new national record of 1:04:18secs in the 21km at the Nanning International race in China in December 2013, said Lagos had always been a good hunting ground for him.
He hoped it would be same when he competes in the much-anticipated Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
“I have always done well when I come to Lagos to run; actually I was the back-to-back champion at the Lagos Beach Marathon (a 10km-race).
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“Gyang said it is heartwarming that Nigeria is finally situating itself properly on the world marathon map,” it said.
The statement added that he also emerged as the top Nigerian at the last edition of the annual 10-kilometre Okpekpe race.
According to the statement, Adeyemi Kazeem, a national record holder in the 20km Walk Race, may boost his chances of making the Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification standard.
“The target I set for myself is to make it to the Olympics and this Access Bank Lagos City Marathon should help me in a way,” Kazeem was also quoted as saying.
Kazeem competed at the All African Games in 2003 and 2007.
Currently with a personal best time cum National Record of 1.34.02secs, it quoted Kazeem as also saying that he would endeavour to lower his time to 1.24.00secs, the entry standard for the Olympics.
“The key to improved performances is constant exposure to competitions.
“ I don’t have such opportunity because here in Nigeria, concentration is on the sprints. I hope the likes of Access Bank will help to switch the focus,” it said.
The winners of the men and women’s events at the Lagos City Marathon will go home with $50,000 each, while second and third place finishers will take $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.
The top 20 Nigerians will also be rewarded with cash prizes starting from N1 million, while the second and third positions will settle for N750, 000 and N500, 000 respectively. (NAN)

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