Nigerian runners would be accorded equal privileges with their foreign counterparts in the 2018 edition of the Okpekpe Road Race this, Sportinglife.ng has gathered.
For this year’s 10km race, all the athletes would be accommodated in the same hotel and be paid in equal currency.
“This edition is packed with lots of innovation to leave up to its new status by the World Athletics body. Unlike the previous editions, this year’s race will see the top athletes from the country accorded the same privileges like other top runners from Africa.
“Aside being lodged in the same hotel, they will also be accorded every other right the foreign athletes will enjoy. Our top 10 athletes will no longer be segregated from their foreign athletes. They will also compete for the same price money,’’ Brown Ebewele, Technical Director, Okpekpe Road Race has said.
Recall that in the previous editions, the Nigerian athletes were responsible for their accommodation but Ebwele said the organisers would ensure that the organisation of the race conforms to best global practices.
The technical director said it was a way of giving Nigerian athletes a sense of belonging, adding that a Local Organising Committee (LOC) has been constituted.
“Movement of security personnel carrying weapons will be restricted and better organised in line with what is obtainable in other parts of the world.
“Unlike in previous races, security personnel will be trained in gun handling in the sports arena.
“We are going to have not only effective security officers during the race, but a well organised one. We do not want to see police officers with openly displaying guns during the race.
“What I am saying is that we will have security on ground but not with the way they carry guns about as if we are at war, Ebewele said.
“Of course they will carry guns and be around strategic locations, but you will not see them openly displaying their guns.
“Generally, there will be improvement in terms of organisation of the race.
“The Okpekpe race is no longer a bronze label competition, it’s now a silver label, so everything about the race is being done in this regard.’’
The race will hold on May 12 at Okpekpe in Edo.