Kalu, Eno, Gumel to flag-off 1st Ebonyi International marathon

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu, Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Eno, and the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Engineer Habu Gumel are to accompany the Governor of Ebonyi state, Francis Nwifuru, in the flag-off of the Ebonyi International Marathon 2024.

This was disclosed at a joint press conference held at the Ministry of Youths and Sports in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state.

The marathon, which is the first-ever to be held east of the Niger, will feature the participation of twenty thousand athletes, covering twenty-one kilometres as well as women and men drawn from a minimum of six and a maximum of ten participating countries.

The State Commissioner for Sports and Youths Development, Hon. Richard Idike disclosed that the Ebonyi state government has given approval for the marathon race in collaboration with Fair Play Sports International Agency.

He said, “With me is Mr. Jacob Onu, the Executive Director/CEO of Fair Play Sports International Agency for a world press conference for the 1st Ebonyi International Marathon at the State Ministry of Youths and Sports.

“His Excellency, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, has given approval for a marathon race in Ebonyi State in collaboration with Fair Play Sports International Agency, who are going to organise the programme.” 

Speaking on the nature and process of the Ebonyi International Marathon 2024, the Director/CEO of Fair Play Sports International Agency, Mr. Jacob Onu, said the Agency felt immeasurably honoured to use “this ever-recognised international marathon to be held east of the Niger to showcase the rich economic and hospitality of Ebonyi state”.

He said, “This international marathon event that has been approved by His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, shall be organised by the state government in conjunction with Fair Play Sports International Agency. A consultant with the African Union Sports Council Region 2 (AUSC-R2), Organisation of Military Sports in Africa (OSMA), and organisers of the annual National Anti-Corruption Marathon in Abuja, Nigeria.

“We feel immeasurably honoured to use this ever-recognised international marathon to be held east of the Niger to showcase the rich economic and hospitality of Ebonyi State; to equally showcase the development strides and leadership quality of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, since he came on board as the fourth democratically elected governor of Ebonyi State, which has placed the state as the most peaceful and fast-growing economy in Nigeria, ready to welcome potential investors to the state.

“The event will take place here in the beautiful city of Abakaliki on Saturday, 7th September 2024, shortly after the forthcoming Olympic Games in Paris, France, with over 20,000 athletes both local and foreign expected to register and participate in the event.”

The Technical Director of the Programme, Prince Henry Amike, said that all technical rules of world athletics would be strictly complied with. He enumerated some of the rules which are but not limited to the following:

“There shall be a random dope test after the match; a secret identification mark shall be use to avoid cheating during the marathon; trained technical officials all over Nigeria and observers outside the country shall be use for the marathon, and a medical team shall be on standby with well-equipped ambulance among others.”(thewillsnews.com)