17-years-old Mary Ajayi, a student of University of Lagos and Ramon Kareem, an indigene of Ogbomosho have won the female and male categories of the maiden edition of Ogbomosho 10 kilometre race.
Mary, who is studying Human Kinetics returned a time of 42:39:07 to win the race, and went home with gold medal, certificate and a cash prize of N50, 000, while Ramon Kareem reached the finishing line on the dot of 33:36:08, to also win gold, certificate and N50, 000 cash prize.
Bolaji Esther, with a time of 45:02:05 came second in the female race to win N40, 000, while Adegboyega Eunice (47:10:00), Olayiwola Rukayat (47:16:34) and Jimoh Abike (47:51:00) came third, fourth and fifth respectively, to win N30, 000, N30, 000 and N10, 000 in that order.
Adetiba Michael ended his race with a time of 35:06:84 to come second in the male race, winning N40,000, with Adeyemi Segun (37:27:09), Akinlade Francis (37:29:81) and Adetona Ezekiel (37:55:14) winning the third, fourth and fifth prizes, N30, 000, N20, 000 and N10, 000 in that order.
Over 1, 140 athletes participated in the race which was flagged off at Baptist High School, Ogbomoso, by the Media Aide of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Kola Daniel. From Baptist High School, they went through Arowomole, Ora Garage, Isale Ora, Soun of Ogbomoso Palace, Oja Igbo, Orita Naira, Akintola Area, Lautech Teaching Hospital and terminated at Ogbomoso Recreation Club.
Mr Adegboyega Stephen, who represented Governor Seyi Makinde said that the state government will continue to support the youth, especially through sports, even as he commended the initiative, which he said, is a special way of engaging the young ones.
In his speech after the race, Mr Kola Daniel, who representative of the Minister, Mr Sunday Dare said that he was impressed with the enthusiasm in the young athletes.
‘I must admit the fact that, I am highly impressed with what I have seen here today. I am happy that the young talented athletes have showcased what they can do when it comes to long distance race; it is really worthy of note that there is abundance of talents in this country.
‘There is no better way to discover young and local talents than putting together an event like this. We witnessed the Lagos and Kaduna marathon races, and now Ogbomoso 10 kilometre race. I will want to commend the organizers and our partners for their support.
‘We so much believe in grassroots sports, and also believe in the talents and potentials of our youth in different sports hence this marathon. Though local, we are committed to making it happen every year as a local event. Ogbomoso 10 kilometre race will signpost other local marathon races, so that our grassroots long distance races can be developed.
‘The Minister is committed to bringing back long distance races and improving our athletics fortunes, pointing out that the Ministry has opened a camp in Pankshin to boost the event.
The Acting President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Olamide George, while commending the organisers for the initiative said that talents have been identified, adding that the federation will ensure they are groomed appropriately.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the 10km race, Prince Oyebamiji Aderemi Joy expressed joy that the event, which was earlier postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic has taken its full course after a strenuous and yet an enduring experience in creating a narrative changing development in the history of the land.
‘We are extremely proud to see the manifestation of an idea which came to being in respect of our efforts to develop the youth, enhance their productivity and also improve the mental and physical health of the general public through sports.
He commended Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde for his support in making this event a reality. He also praised the contributions of the Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Akin Dare.
‘Today, the streets of Ogbomoso is being occupied by athletes who we believe will go ahead to make this country proud in the nearest future, and I want to express our gratitude to critical stakeholders and our esteemed partners who have toiled and strived with us in staging this historic event.
The Director of Kazo-Links Consults International, Mallam Tunde Kazeem, one of the technical partners of the event commended the Minister for supporting the initiative which he said, will boost the sports development platform in Nigeria.
The former Director of Sports in Kwara state and former Chairman, Directors’ of Sports Forum in Nigeria said that he was impressed with the turn-out, as well as the standard displayed by the young athletes.
The winner of the female race, Ajayi Mary in her reaction said that she was prepared, and was optimistic of winning it.
‘I aimed to win the 10km race, and I have achieved it. I wish to compete more in subsequent championships, to make my state and nation proud.
Also, Ramon Kareem, who won the male event, said he was motivated in the race by the second placed athlete.
‘I’m happy I won this maiden edition. The guy who came second pushed me to winning the race because I had to cope with his pace’, he said.
The 20-years-old believed he can win more laurels in future championships.
Present at the event are the former CAF executive member Dr Amos Adamu, Hon. Olamide Oyeniyi Yemi Timothy, Chairman, Ogbomoso South Local Government, Hon. Seun Adeyinka Chairman Ogbomoso Central LCDA, AFN officials and other stakeholders.