For the third time in eight editions, Ethiopians have emerged winners of the men and women’s titles after Jasin Hadi and Anchinaiu Dessie outran their Kenyan challengers on Saturday in Okpekpe.
Okpekpe Road race remains one of the most difficult road races in the world due to it’s deep and curvy course giving runners a huge challenge to surmount it.
Hadi’s 29.95s clocking is the third fastest winning time in the history of the race.
He breasted the tape ahead of Kenyan duo of Elvis Cheboi (29.20s) and Bereket Nego (29.30s) as he went home with the $13,000 top prize money for his commanding efforts.
In the women’s race, Dessie’s 33.09s effort fetched her the $13,000 winning prize.
For the Nigerians in the race, Ismael Sadjo (31.12s) and Rose Akusho (36.40s) came home first respectively.
Mike Itemuagbor, organiser of the race expressed joy at the successful conduct of the race.
‘After a covid 19 induced two year absence, the race has successfully come back bigger,’ said a delighted Itemuagbor.
Philips Shaibu, Deputy Governor of Edo state who ran in the VIP race also expressed delight with the turn out of athletes, officials and the locals.
‘ The race is a World Athletics elite label event and I am happy it is back again,’ said Shaibu who reiterated that the state government and organisers of the race are determined to raise the standard of the event.
‘ This is the first race in Africa to be granted a label status by World Athletics which makes it one of the world class races across the globe. The target now is to get upgraded to a World Athletics elite platinum label. Edo is a pacesetter race and the heartbeat of Nigeria and we are determined to always lead in sports.’.