Mr Christopher ‘Krix’ Ojo, the initiator of the Owan Marathon, says the competition was initiated to check the dominance of Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes in the long distance race.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Owan Marathon made its debut in 2017, producing Gabriel Adewale and Odion Idekho as winners in the male and female categories respectively.
Ojo spoke with NAN on the phone on Thursday while unfolding the plans for the second edition of the race.
He said the second edition would ensure the emergence of top competitors in marathon races on the continent.
Ojo said the event which had been scheduled for Jan. 26, 2019, would harness raw talents from Edo and across the country in preparation for global competitions.
“Our plan is not just to put Owan on the global map, but also discover talents that abound in the area, Edo state and by extension, the country.
“Upon discovery, our plan is to mould these athletes into global competitors with the ultimate aim of stopping the dominance of the East Africans—Kenyans and Ethiopians– in marathon races in the continent.
“We will place these discoveries into a strict training programme and prepare them for marathon races within and outside the country as part of a plan to launch them into global recognition.
“It may interest you to know that our discovery in the first edition, Gabriel Adewale and Odion Idekho, are already doing well.
“After we discovered them, they both have been competitors in the Lagos marathon race, Warri and Okpekpe road race.
“In the 2018 edition of the Lagos marathon which was their very first major competition, just three months after they were discovered, Adewale and Idekho placed seventh with a time of 36 minutes and ninth respectively in the male and female 10 km category of the Lagos race,’’ he said.
Ojo noted that the athletes were discovered with raw talents and they took part in a marathon race for the very first time and practically on barefoot.
“I am greatly impressed and encouraged by their performance thus far; it goes to show that with more of the proper mentoring and training they have been receiving, they will go places,” he stated.
He said the second edition of the Owan marathon race would be better planned and organised, taking into consideration the short-comings noticed in the first edition.