By Joy Odigie
Okpekpe (Edo) – The Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung on Saturday said there was the need for more corporate bodies to sponsor the Okpekpe 10 km international road race.
Dalung, while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Okpekpe in Edo, said this was necessary if the country must reposition itself in long distance races.
He said the outcome of the sixth edition was tremendous and more sponsorship was needed to take the race to the next level because government cannot do it alone.
“The Okpekpe race is advancing. We have witnessed a large contingent of participants this year, especially young Nigerians.
“We are on silver level of the race now and this new level was due to the level of preparedness and advancement in the race.
“If we continue this way, it is going to be impressive because there is a huge sports economy hidden here and this can be converted to employment for our youths,” the minister said.
He commended the organisers on the facilities put in place for the race, adding that this was the right way to go to encourage grassroots sports.
Speaking on the rain which started 20 minutes into the race, Dalung said the rain was a natural phenomenon which was unavoidable.
“Except we shift the race to the latter part of the year. But we cannot guarantee that it will not rain then too.
“The rain added colour to the race and spurred more people to do better,” he said.
NAN reports that it was the first time it would be raining during the annual international road race which holds in Okpekpe in the Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo.(NAN)