Kenyans dominate 3rd Okpepe Road Race
By Dare Esan:
Kenyan duo of Korio Alex Olotip and Tanui Anfele emerged the winners of the respective men and women races of the IAAF bronze label 3rd Okpekpe 10km road race held in Okpekpe near Auchi, Edo State on Saturday.
Olotip got to the finish line first in a very tight race in 29 minutes, 20 seconds to emerge the third man to win the title and the accompanying $25,000 top prize. He was chased to the tape by Ethiopia's Leul Gabrasilasis (29.22) and fellow Kenyan and last year's first runner-up, Amos Mitel (29.24).
Interestingly, Mitel came into the competition as the pre-race fastest man and the seventh fastest in the world so far this year at 27:58 but neither he nor the two people in front of him and even Ethiopia's Dawi Fikadu who holds a 28:04 personal season's best could break the 28 minutes, 26 seconds race record set by Ethiopia's Teshome Asfahu Mekone at the second edition of the race last year.
Fikadu came a disappointing ninth (30.18) while Mekome came in 16th (32.31) in Saturday's race.
Emmanuel Gyang of Plateau State emerged the fastest Nigerian in the race, racing home in 17th place (32.31) followed by Gideon Goyet (32.59) also of Plateau State while Ethiopia's Bekue Chiferawt (33.03) and Cameroun's Foimi Justilin (33.23) placed 19th and 20th respectively.
In the women's category, it was a Kenyan 1, 2, 3 sweep of the medals as it were with Anfele first in 33, 34, Rionoripo Purity (33.52) and Mary Wacera (34.31) placing second and third respectively.
Three-time Obudu International Mountain Race winner, Ganet Yalew of Ethiopia, failed to improve on her second best placing last year as she came in in fifth place in 35.05 while Deborah Pam emerged the fastest Nigerian woman in the race, finishing in 11th place overall in 38.41 with Muibat Ogunkoya came in two steps behind her in 14th place (40.42).
Asedo Queensly emerged the best Edo State athlete for the women while Lawrence Osheku made it a hat-trick of titles in the men's race to laugh all the way to the bank with the respective N500,000 top prize.