Brown Ebewele, a former technical director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and route and participation cordinator for the sixth Okpekpe international 10km road race, has predicted a new men and women’s course record at this year’s event.
Ebewele,an accomplished athletics administrator and former Commissioner for Sports in Edo State, believes the elevation of the race to a silver label status has increased the possibilities of having a new course record come May 12 this year in Okpekpe, a hilly town near Auchi, Edo State of Nigeria.
The record for the men and women’s race were set in 2014 by the Ethiopian duo of Teshome Mekonnen (28:35) and Wude Ayalew (32:41) respectively and since then none of the athletes has run inside 29 seconds for men and 33 seconds for women but Ebewele believes all that will change this year.
“I forsee another 28 minutes run for men and 32 minutes run for women when the sixth Okpekpe international 10km race holds in May in Okpekpe,” said Ebewele who is convinced the quality of elite athletes that will participate in this year’s race will ensure faster times are recorded.
“The elevation of the race by the IAAF to a silver label status,the first in West Africa quarantees that the elite field will be made up of athletes who have been classified as “Silver level elite runners” and they are those who have recorded, in the 36 months preceding the race, or in the race itself performances that are 29:00 or under for men and 33:00 or under for women.
This means we will have athletes who run 28 seconds with ease competing this year,’he said and expressed the confidence that a 27 minutes performance by the men and 31 minutes by the women are attainable here inspite of the weather constraint.