• El Rufai explains gains of race, thanks Nilayo Sports for initiative
Former national marathon champion, Abbas Mohammed, says the Kaduna marathon, slated for November 21 is timely.
Mohammed, Who ruled Nigeria’s marathon in the early 1980s, was among top dignitaries present at the Government House, Kaduna when Governor Nasir el Rufai addressed the press at the weekend.
Mohammed said the Kaduna marathon would afford young athletes from the region opportunity to display their God-given talent, especially now that sporting activities are resuming after months of inactivity due to the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
He urged Nigerian youths, particularly those from the north, to start training ahead of the November 21 race.
Earlier, Governor El Rufai said: “Nilayo sports has demonstrated its competence as a great organizers as far as marathon races are concerned in the country. I have been told that Nilayo sports beat others in the race to become the consultant to the Kaduna marathon. We will give them all the support they need to make this marathon a great event.”
The governor, who filled his registration form for the Kaduna marathon, also hinted that he would build stadiums in different parts of the state to discover more talents.
He added: “I am a graduate of Coronavirus after surviving the virus.
“I will participate in the race, but I will not run more than five kilometres.
“The Kaduna marathon is not my initiative, but that of our team of technocrats. You need not to compliment the governor for it.”
He disclosed that the marathon will cost between N250 million and N300 million, adding that the money is coming from private sponsorships and donations, with no recourse to public funds.
The governor has assured it will double the prize money every year.
Kaduna state Commissioner for sports, Professor Kabir Mato, said the event would give the youths a sustainable life.
“People should expect more sports to come to Kaduna. We are going to draw up a 10 to 15 year blueprint to develop sports in the state. Kaduna has contributed to the success of Nigerian sports more than any state in the country.
Meanwhile, the Chief Operating officer of Nilayo Sports, Seyi Johnson, has assured that the Kaduna marathon would be given the seriousness it deserves.
Speaking at the media briefing, a confident Johnson stated that Nilayo Sports would employ all logistics needed to make the maiden Kaduna marathon a huge success.
The winner of the elite race of 10 kilometres will take home a cash prize of $10,000, while the top 10 winners will all get cash prizes with the 10th placed taking $1,000.
The local winners, from first to 10th, will get N3 million each to N250,000 respectively. A total of 20 elite athletes, both male and female will take part in the race.