About 2, 500 local and international athletes are expected to participate in the 2nd edition of the ECOWAS Abuja international half marathon scheduled for Saturday in the FCT, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that athletes expected at the event include those from Kenya, Ethiopia and China.
Francis Njoaguari, the ECOWAS Director of Sports Development Centre, said this at a news conference on Friday in Abuja.
Njoaguari said the marathon was being organised by ECOWAS and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
He said the idea to organise the marathon was borne out of the need to create visibility of ECOWAS headquarters in Abuja.
“The idea to organise this annual event is to go beyond the health benefits of sports to create awareness in the West African regional body,“ he said.
He said that the idea started a few years back before the COVID-19 in conjunction with some critical stakeholders.
“The first edition was held in 2019 with the collaboration of the FCTA and an attempt to hold it in 2020 could not materialize because of the COVID,“he said.
He said that the prize money for this year was 70,000 dollars that would be shared among the male and female categories.
Njoaguari said that the prize money for first position in the five kilometer marathon is 750 dollars with a gold medal and second, 500 dollars and a silver medal.
Others are third; 400 dollars with a bronze medal fourth, 300 dollars and fifth 200 dollars.
According to him, the first prize for the 21.09 km is 10,000 dollars and a gold medal, second, 5000 and a silver medal, third, 4000 and a bronze medal.
Others are fourth, 3,500 dollars, fifth , 3,000 dollars, sixth, 2,500 dollars, seventh, 2,000 dollars, eight, 1,500, ninth, 1,200 and 10th, 1,000.
He said that all participants at the marathon would get a certificate of participation.
The director said that the number of participants from East Africa was reduced to give West Africans the opportunity to win the prizes.
“This is because they are more advanced in the long distance race than their West African counterparts,“ he said.
He said that the race would start early in the morning from the ECOWAS headquarters in Asokoro and end at the Eagle square which is a symbolic area in Abuja.
On the payment of prize money to athletes, Njoaguari assured that it would be paid 48 hours after the event.
He said that subsequent editions would be bigger than this year`s to bring in more participants.
NAN reports that the Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan Enoh would be a special guest at the event on Saturday.
The maiden edition was held on Dec.14, 2019 with 500 local and international participants in attendance.(NAN)