By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The world body of athletics, IAAF has recognized the Kaduna Marathon and put it on its calendar on November 21, annually.
Commissioner of Sports Development Kaduna State, Professor Kabir Mato disclosed this in his welcome address at a world press conference ahead of the maiden edition of the marathon billed for Saturday November 21, 2020.
“World body has taken note that every November 21 on its calendar dedicated to Kaduna Marathon,” he said.
He said that the marathon is a noble Initiative and first time this such is taking place North of Rivers Niger and Benue.
Speaking further, he said that Kaduna as a state enjoys comparative advantage in long distance races, National marathon record holder is from Kaduna State.
Professor Mato said that they will also use the marathon to discover young talents that will not only make the state proud nationally, but will represent NIgeria at International outings.
“I hope that when this race is run, the volume of enthusiasm by runners which is high,l will be justified.
“I am sure that the enthusiasm the people in Kaduna are showing, will be expressed in massive support for the athletes,” he said.
He appreciated the Kaduna State Government, led by Governor Nasir el-Rufai, who was represented by acting Governor, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe at the briefing, for supporting the marathon.
“Your Excellency we are grateful, we pray you will keep supporting us so that the event will flourish,” he added.
He said that so far, 27 elite athletes from eight countries have arrived Kaduna for the race.
“I welcome the elite athletes to Nigeria, you can see a lot of work is going on in the Metropolis, we hope when you come next year, it will be longer than half marathon of this year.
“To the sponsors, I believe the investment will be worthwhile and rewarding. We appreciate you,” he said.
Our reporter at the briefing gathered that out of the 27 elite athletes, 19 were present at the briefing.
They are; Philip Tarus (Kenya), immaculate Cemutai (Uganda), Kareem Chepto (Kenya) Lilian Cenrero (Kenya), John Mururu (Kenya), Ezekiel Cheprum (Kenya), Rotich (Kenya), Viola Sang (Kenya and Josepath (Kenya) .