By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu – No fewer than 30 international athletes have registered and received invitations to participate in the Coal City International Half Marathon, “ Coal City 2019’’ in Enugu.
Nzube Ndiokwelu, Race Director of Coal City International Marathon, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Saturday.
Ndiokwelu said that the foreign athletes had registered online and been issued invitational letters to facilitate their travelling documentation and visas to Nigeria.
“We have mechanism on how we accept international athletes and we currently have athletes coming from seven countries that indicated their interests through their various national athletes’ federations.
“We have foreign athletes from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, South Africa, Niger, Uganda and Cameroon.
“Among some Kenya athletes issued invitational letters are: Bernard Bosuben, Esther Chesang Kakuri, Nelly Jepkurui, Geoffrey Kirwa, Abraham Kipkemei Biwott, Nicholas Rop and Benjamin Kipkemei.
“These are both male and female athletes. We also have Nguetsa Liliane, a female athlete from Cameroon.
“This is just to mention a few that had already indicated interest through their national athletes’ federations and have already received our invitational letters.
“So, we are going to have elite international athletes coming for the 2019 edition,’’ he said.
According to him, the number has surpassed the 17 foreign athletes that participated in the 2018 edition of the race.
He disclosed that the organisers had secured seven sponsors and partners for the marathon.
The director said that the organisers were still hoping for more corporate sponsors to make the 2019 edition a huge success.
“The Nigeria Athletes Federation has given its approval and it is currently working with us as our technical partner,’’ he added.
The Enugu State Government had earlier approved the 2019 edition of Coal City International Half Marathon to be held within Enugu metropolis on Nov. 23.