ACCESS BANK LAGOS CITY MARATHON
Over Four Thousand Runners From 42 Countries For 2019 Race
OVER four thousand runners from 42 countries around the world have registered to participate in the 2019 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
This figure does not include over two hundred professional runners mostly from Asia, Europe, America, Kenya, Ethiopia and other East, Central and South African countries.
Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Head of Communications and Media Olukayode Thomas revealed that Americans are the highest number of foreigners that will be coming to Lagos for 2019 race slated for February 2, 2019.
Japanese are a close second. Other countries whose citizens have registered for the 2019 race include Holland, Germany, Israel, Poland, England, New Zealand, Canada, Egypt, Austria, Tunisia, Norway, Denmark and others.
Thomas is optimistic that the number will increase before the close of entries in January 2019.
In the first edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon in 2016 about a hundred runners from fifteen countries participated, in 2017 there were over a thousand runners from 20 countries and the 2018 edition had over two thousand runners from 30 countries.
Bukola Olopade the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon consultant attributed the increase in the number of tourists coming to Lagos for the race to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode's several initiatives and beautification of Lagos State since he was elected governor and has made the state tourist friendly.
“We thank Governor Ambode for the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon which is driving a high number of tourists to Lagos annually but apart from the marathon his beautification of Lagos and other laudable projects like the One Lagos Fiesta and others have turned Lagos State into a tourist destination.”
Olopade assured that the 2019 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will be better than the previous editions in several areas, “this year, we are expecting about one hundred and fifty thousand runners, I can assure you that we are planning for more than figure, we have expanded the recovery areas and medals and certificates that will go round all the runners, entertainment, as usual, will be world class, this edition will be an experience of a lifetime for runners and spectators.” Said Olopade.
The first edition of the Bet9ja Anti-corruption Marathon race will hold on Monday December 10, 2018 at 7:00am and will start off from the National Stadium, Abuja and finish up at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
The event organised by Fair Play Sports International Agency in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) and Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is in honour and support of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s battle against corruption.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung has described the initiative as a significant milestone in the fight against corruption, pointing out that sports is one of the highest employers of labour in Nigeria, and that sports men and women are some of the highest paid in the world, and as such should be protected from all forms of corrupt practices.
Acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu lauded the initiative, saying the objective of bringing together all strata of the population to support the anti-corruption campaign with the sole aim of raising national awareness and consciousness on the scourge and danger of corruption in Nigeria is a welcome development.
National coordinator of the event, Jacob Onu, said millions of Nigerians are involved in one form of sporting activity, it makes sense that this initiative is an effective avenue to reach these audience with the anti-corruption message and such an effort should be supported in all ramifications.
While unveiling the new plans ahead of the maiden edition of the race slated to hold on Monday December 10, 2018, Head of Marketing and Communication, Bet9ja, Mr. Tunji Meshioye said, “Bet9ja was proud to be the headline sponsors of the National Anti-Corruption Marathon.”
“At Bet9ja we see integrity as our responsibility to push the anti-corruption agenda, and also ensured corrupt free society.” He said.
Nigeria’s leading bookmaker, Bet9ja urged Nigerians to take advantage of the opportunity to come out and have fun while keeping fit at the event which is the first Anti-corruption marathon in Nigeria.
To get more info follow @Bet9jaig on Instagram, @ Bet9ja.official Twitter and Facebook or follow the #hashtag #Bet9jaRaceForIntegrity on all social media platforms.
Incredible evening at the main bowl in Package 'A' National Stadium, Abuja; as team Abia lead the match pasts shortly after the recitation of the Nigeria National Anthem at 6:30pm.
Surprisingly, among the twenty three (23) states that participated in the match past, the defending champion Delta came with the highest contingents (545) as Akwa Ibom presented (416) while former host Lagos had (405) but team Rivers, Kogi and others were unavoidably absent.
The (host) Minister who gave the opening remark, "We are delighted to received various Sports contingents to the Center of Unity in our Nation but ensure you put in your best as Sports remain a reward-able means of livelihood, social integration and peaceful means to display your talents"
"Imploring the participants to savoir the opportunity while they remain law abiding before departing.
Adding, "Its fascinating you all are here, i urge you to enjoy our cultural heritage, ambience and visiting other places of your interest. Nice having you all around, enjoy your stay" Musa Bello concluded.
Aside from the Students, athletes, friends and well wishers; men and women of different calibers came in their numbers to witnessed the historical event in the conducive atmosphere at the capital city, Abuja.
Spicing up the event was music performances that had notable artists, cultural display, Students dancing and skirting.
Mr. Adeshola Olushade (FMYSD Perm. Sec.) while addressing the crowd on behalf of the Ministry, said "I'm glad the NSF is here although, we have done so much before now, as you can see they entire city have welcome numerous visitors all over Nigeria.
He continued, "Everyone has to play their part in respect of this huge event, therefore the athletes should imbibe spirit of sportsmanship in order to overcome the task ahead.
"Once more, i welcome you all as you explore the beautiful city of Abuja during your stay. God bless you all" Olusade summarized.
Nevertheless, the President was able represented, National Assemble, Chief of Defense staff and Speaker of the house of representatives. Also, the Fct Minister, Secretary to the Federation, Minister of Sports including other VIPs was present at the entertaining ceremony.
Meanwhile, the event was brought to a close by the Honorable Minister of Sports closing speech, "Indeed, you all will continue to make our country proud through true Sportsmanship but i will wish you best of luck ahead this magnitude of talents.
He added, "Fct will surely experience increase economically but we look forward to bring more smile to faces through Sports development in Nigeria" Dalung ended.
In readiness to host a successful event ahead of the forthcoming 19th National Sports Festival, Abuja; the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development under the auspices of Barr. Solomon Selcap Dalung and the sponsors of the Sports fiesta has addressed the Press towards her readiness for the Unity Games.
More also, the event which began today at 11am in the Obasanjo Hall, Federal Secretariat, had the Fct Minister, CEO of Greenfield Access Ltd, Minister of Sports, MOC chair person, Perm. Sec. including all Directors and guests.
FCT Minister told Journalists, "In preparations for the NSF, we have held open and close camps for our 470 athletes and we look forward to put Abuja in the global map of Sports tourism through this event.
Musa Bello stated, "We FCTA have accepted the hosting request as a of promoting National Unity, increasing economic development and promoting tourism" he maintained.
The entrenchment of hosting the Unity Games at the capital city, was as a result of several postponement and failure, but 'the bull has been taking by the Hun' as almost all the facilities seems ready for the action packed championship that will featured various States and athletes across the Nation.
Dalung, said "NSF is owned by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, therefore since the inception in 1973 which paved way for new athletes and Sports enthusiast globally; although, Lagos state was privilege to host the maiden edition but having missed three (3) editions after 2012, we want to make amendment towards a better tournament.
He continued, "We increased the number of Sports from 25 to 40 thereby given more Nigerians a sense of belonging as over 10,000 athletes, officials, states delegates will be involved"
"A permanent logo, theme, official website (www.nigeriasportsfestival.org) has been created in order to rebrand the Games, while 11,638 (Athletes), 1,242 (Coaches), 855 (Team Officials), 845 (States Delegates) making total of 14, 580 contingents.
Earlier, "Two joint meetings/Inspection of venues and Facilities was held, all States have received the Torch of Unity, 9 Teams Sports played elimination games in the 6 Geo-Political zones, total of 8,861 person were accredited from 35 State including the host Fct; we're good to go.
Meanwhile, "Bed spaces has been allocated, Tasks officers have been trained, availability of Medicals, Security, Medals, Doping Control Information and rehearsals is on going for the Opening Ceremony" Dalung ended.
Nevertheless, the the Chairman Venues and Facilities Sub Committee of the 2018 National Sports Festival Gambo Ahmad has earlier assured that facilities for the 19th edition of the games will be ready before the opening ceremony in Abuja.
According to (Chief) Mrs. Dilichukwu Onyedinma the (MOC chairman), "It's a thing of joy after 2004 when Abuja last hosted the games but our technical officials are doing a lot to enable the Fct athletes perform better"
"They're not youth anymore now elite athletes and they're happy about their chances to compete. Likewise the people residing in the capital city that look forward to make sales and benefit economically from the huge championship" she concluded.
Mr. Olusade Olusola (FMYSD Perm. Sec.) in his closing remark, "Thanking everyone who has been worked towards a hitch-free tournament including the Media.
"I wish you all an exciting championship as you all come together in Unity" Olusade added.
In summary, all is now set to host the 19th National Sports Festival (NSF), at the Main Bowl National Stadium Abuja, from December 6th–16th, which will be the climax of all Nigerian sporting competitions this year. In addition, the festival which is referred to as Nigerian Olympics, will feature over 1000 athletes from entire country.
Aftermath so many preparations ahead the long-awaited 19th National Sports Festival which has suffered several postponement due to paucity of fund; the MOC, LOC alongside the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development under the leadership of Barr. Solomon Selcap Dalung has dime it fit to begin the game this Thursday 6th December, 2018.
As a results a Scientific Congress was conducted today at the Social and Cultural Center at Area 10 Garki, Abuja. Among those present are: Minister of Youths and Sports Development, NFF Secretary-general, Permanent Secretary, Chairman House Committee on Sports, NAWIS President, Director of Planing, Management & Information, NUGA Secretary-general, NAPHER.SD, Director of Press, National Federation heads, Director of FEAD, Federations Secretaries and other invited guests.
According to NAPHER.SD president (Prof. R.O Okuneye) while addressing the public, "The essence of a congress like this is to lighten up all stakeholders' consciousness on the philosophy, vision, mission and core values entrenched in the Festival.
He continued by appreciating the (FMYSD, MOC, LOC) also, the 19th edition theme: "Excellence, Sportsmanship and Unity".
"There will be winners so also losers and at the end of of it, we embrace ourselves and stay together happily" he summarized.
Nonetheless, the program which lasted till 5pm with different lectures been delivered on topics regarding Sports development, Anti-doping awareness with notable names like: Engr. Chika Chukumeriji (Olympian & TD Taekwondo Federation of Nigeria), Profs. Oby Okonwkor, Pharm. Odo Rafael Okafor, Profs. F.B Adeyanju, Mr. Bola Orodele and Profs. E.A Gunen.
The (Chairman House Committee on Sports) briefed news men, "We have really invested so much in Sports but the male Football teams are not performing well as expected and since the Women sports are doing well, we look forward to support them more"
Adding, "Delay of funds in Sports is as a result of the high bureaucracy, hopefully we will stop it soon". And the Anti-doping, Federal Ministry of Sports bills will be consider soon" Goni concluded.
According to Barr. Solomon Selcap Dalung, who told journalists, "Sports has gone beyond recreation, because we have really achieved alot through Sports since my assumption as a Sports Minister.
"Our athletes has made us proud, especially the female athletes in respective of their gender, in Hockey, Paralympics, Basketball, Scrabble, Football, Badminton to mention but a few.
He affirmed, "Sports is a major economic factor not recreation, sports create wealth and unity. And it's a healthy practice which can't be push aside.
Dalung said, it's unfortunate they have to struggle for funds every time in order to carry out Sports events thereby hampering their progress.
"Its an injustice to us, because the provision given to us isn't enough despite creating so many employment opportunities; Nigerians must create sufficient funds to improve Sports development" he maintained.
Finally, the Minister of Sports declared the 'Unity Games' opened shortly after his speech that enabled the audience to understand more about the challenges facing development of Sports in the country.