Ethiopian runners showed class on Saturday by winning the men and women’s categories of the 7th edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
While Ulfata Gelata claimed the first position in the men’s race, his compatriot Dagne Siranesh Yirga finished ahead of all the other runners in the women’s category.
Geleta who finished as the first runner-up at last year’s edition moved up this time to emerge as the proud winner of the $30,000 first price money.
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Though the Ethiopian’s winning time of 2.11.54 sec was short of the Course Record that was set in the 2020 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, it is the second-fastest ever in the history of the annual 42km road race.
The Kenyan duo of David Barmasai and Emmanuel Naibei settle for second and third places respectively.
Barmasai and Naibei went home with $20,000 and $15,000, respectively for their efforts at this year’s race.
In the women category, Ethiopia’s Dagne winning time was 2 hours 33 minutes and 50 seconds.
She was followed in second place by compatriot Alemenseh Guta and Kenya’s Naomi Maiyo in third place.
This is only the second time that an Ethpionan will win both the male and female categories of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
In the Nigeria category, Shehu Muazu and Fadekemi Olukemi were the top finishers who won the N1m prize monies set aside for the indigenous athletes
Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare has assured that Nigeria’s fortunes at the annual Access Bank Lagos City Marathon would improve once the country’s High-Performance Centres begin full operations.
Speaking to newsmen in Lagos on Saturday during the 7th edition of the race, Dare said the Sports Ministry and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria(AFN)would work together to ensure that Nigerians become more competitive in long-distance races.
“We plan to ensure that Nigerians do not just make up the numbers but also enjoy podium finishes in long-distance races. We are reviving some of the programmes that will make this happen.
“We are also going to get our High-Performance Centres fully operational. We have a centre in Pankshin, Plateau State and another one in Taraba State.
“Hopefully in the next few editions of this marathon, we would have a Nigerian clean sweep of the podium places,” he stated.