The preparation for the third edition of the annual Okpekpe Road Race has begun, according to the organisers of the event.
The coordinator of the event and former international, Yusuf Alli, who disclosed this to our correspondent, said the organisers decided to
start preparation early because of their determination to achieve much more this time than the two previous editions.
“Between now and May, I will be going to the venue more than 10 times because we need to perfect everything.
“We have already pencilled down some top athletes that will be competing at this year’s event because our target now is to get the Gold Label.
“If you look at all the races in Africa now, Okpekpe race is the only one with a label, but we don’t want to stop at Bronze Label, we are targeting Gold Label and we need to put so many things in place to achieve that,” Alli said.
Speaking further, the former quarter miller said they were putting the necessary things in place to hasten the conferment of the Gold Label.
He added: “Before a race can be awarded a Gold Label, there must be at least six nations taking part in it, also athletes with Gold Label and we have already pencilled down 12 of such athletes that we hope will be part of this year’s edition.
“If we can achieve that, then before the end of the year, we can get the Gold Label from International Association of Athletics Federations.”
It would be recalled that the IAAF conferred the IAAF Bronze Label status on the 10km Road Race last year. The IAAF said in a release to the organisers that: “We have reviewed your application for an IAAF Road Race Label.We
are pleased to inform you that your race has been awarded a Bronze Label for 2015.
“We remind you that all requirements included in the Road Race Label Regulations must be met in order to be considered for an IAAF Label the following year.”
The maiden edition of Okpekpe International Road Race was organised by the Edo State government under the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomole in 2013.
Since inception, more than 200 top athletes from across the globe have been part of the race, which Moses Massai of Kenya won the maiden edition in a time of 29 minutes, 39 seconds.