By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
Despite finishing outside the top 10 runners at the 3rd Access Bank Lagos City Marathon held on Saturday, Nigeria’s Iliya Pam says there is nothing special about the East Africans after all.
Yet the East Africans dominated the 42 Km race with Abraham Kiprotich of Kenya taking the first position and was followed by Kibos Ronny and Bitok Benjamin to make it all Kenyan affair, it was also all Ethiopian affair in the women’s event as Alemenesh Herpha Guta, Tigist Girma Getachew and Ayelu Abebe Hordopha took first, second and third positions respectively.
Jos-based Pam, told New Nigerian Sports after the race having emerged as the first Nigerian to arrive at the finish line said that Nigerian runners have the talent to compete against the East Africans, known for their long distance dominance but lacks the right preparations and trainings to be very competitive at big stage.
Pam said he aimed to finish among the top 10 in this year’s Access Bank Lagos City Marathon but could not because he and other Nigerians did not have sound rest a night before the race.
“Honsetly, my target was to finish among the top 10 but you see when I arrived Lagos on Thursday, there was no accommodation, no feeding, I slept outside the stadium and had to battle with mosquitos and other things and all these put together affected my performance if not so I would have done a better timel. I followed the elite athletes up to 30 km but the remaining Kilometres I could not meet up with them.
“I want to say if Nigeria will prepare us well, keep us in camp, have a good time for us, good accommodation and feeding I can assure you we would run better than the Kenyans and Ethiopians, even this Commonwealth games that is ahead we could run better time”, added Pam, who was Nigerian best runner at the 2017 edition.
The first place winner in the 42km marathon went home with $50,000, while the second and third received $40,000 and $30,000 respectively in both the men’s and women’s event.
In the Nigeria category, the winner received N3m, while the second and third got N2m and N1m respectively.