AFN set to blacklist Abuja International Marathon race, others

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has threatened to blacklist Abuja International Marathon Race and others, fond of brazenly defrauding athletes and defaulting in payment of their prize money from organizing marathon in the country.

AFN’s Secretary-General, Rita Mosindi, told Blueprint Sport over the weekend that the AFN henceforth will bear its fang on marathon organizer in the country who are bringing disrepute to the nation and defrauding athletes of their hard earned money.

“Anyone who is owning athlete is fraudulent and it’s not acceptable. We  have received several complaint about non payment after several months the event ended especially the Abuja International Marathon race which was done several months ago. It’s very shameful bringing athletes to Nigeria from all over Africa and at the end of the day you refused to pay them their entitlements. It is very sad and disheartening.

“Apart from non-payment of prize money the race organizers are involved in sharp practices. The routes are not properly mark. Agencies such as Road Safety, the VIO, men of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) are often times not carried along,” she said.

Mosindi gave instance of how the image of the country is been ruined by unscrupulous people “there’s an international marathon in Port-Harcourt in 2010. AFN was unaware of it. The organisers brought in athletes from all over Africa with $100,000 as the prize money. The organizers did not pay a dime to the athletes. The athletes reported the matter to our international body, IAAF.

“When we got to the Commonwealth games, they refused Nigeria to participate in the game until we paid the $100,000 prize money. Enough is enough. We’re putting in place a standardized template which all marathon organizers in the country must follow.” 

The Abuja International Marathon Race is a project of the FCT administration with the maiden edition of the race taking place in April this year.

When contacted by Blueprint correspondent, the Race Director, Olukayode Thomas disclosed that “It’s quite unfortunate that she did not follow simple administrative procedures. The standard practice is for her to write us officially and intimate us about the complaints from the athletes. Then of course, we will respond to her query.

“Only for her to go to press. Anyway, as far as I know Abuja International Marathon race is an elite race. And there’s acceptable standard for doing label races. Yes, we had issues. We are in touch with the athletes. I recently put a call to the Kenyans and Ethiopians and even those from Nigeria.

“You cannot compare the prize of dollar in April with that of today. I can assure you that we’re going to pay. We’re credible organization and our integrity is our watchword. Be rest assured all  the runners will get  their money very soon. We’re working on it.” 

Emmanuel Naibet of Kenya won the maiden edition of the race, beating over 120 elite athletes to win the 42km race with a grand prize of $50,000.

The Kenyan finished 2 hours 13 minutes and fourty five seconds to beat compatriots Bernard Sang and Ezekiel Koech who finished second and third respectively with prize money of $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.