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Onitsha City Marathon Gets September 30 Date; Organisers Unveil N308.4m Winning Prizes

Onitsha City Marathon Gets September 30 Date; Organisers Unveil N308.4m Winning Prizes

Organisers of the second edition of the annual Onitsha City Marathon, OCM, have revealed that the 2023 race will hold on September 30 just as they have equally unveiled a princely sum of N308.4m worth of prize monies, reports.

At the luxuriously set Corporate Headquarters of the Onitsha Business School, OBS, on Wednesday, May 17, Professor Segun Sogbasan, Director-General of the Onitsha Business School, disclosed at a World Press Conference that $200,000 each will go for male and female categories of the marathoners as winning prizes just as N5m each will go for State male and female marathoners at an elaborate 2023 Onitsha City Marathon.

He hinted that issues with the then Anambra State Government that blighted the first edition of the 2019 inaugural race have been sorted out as the organisers are now working in synergy with the present administration in the South East State.

“We have the support, partnership and backing of the state government. All issues that affected the first edition in 2019 as regards the state government have been put behind,” Professor Sogbasan said.

“That’s why you can see the state Sports Director (Faith Okwunna) is here representing the State Sports Commission.

“The Technical Consultant to the Anambra State Sports Commission, Oluyole Sule, is also here. In fact, they are part and parcel of the 2023 Onitsha City Marathon. They are members of the Main Organising Committee also. ”

He equally spoke on security arrangements before, during and after the race, stressing that the police, Civil Defence, Road Safety and other private security outfits have been engaged for the biggest Marathon race East of Niger.

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Professor Sogbasan was very delighted with the ‘royal blessing’ the race received from the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Alfred Achebe Agbogidi.

He added: “Here present is the representative of the Royal Palace, Sir Chike Ekweogu, President, Onitsha Improvement Union 1938.

“It shows the level of relationship we have with the Royal Palace. That’s why we chose September for the race so as to be part of Obi of Onitsha’s 2023 Ofala Festival as was the case in 2019.”

Before the day’s event, souvenirs were presented to the Igwe representative by Professor Sogbasan.

Dr Osondu Umeobi, Project Manager of the race said no fewer than 2000 Marathoners, local and international, would take part in the 2023 Onitsha City Marathon.

He further disclosed that $10, 000 is the star prize for winners in both male and female categories while first runners-up in the two categories will pocket $7000 each just as the third-placed finishers will go home with $5000 each.

“All the first 10 finishers are to receive cash rewards.

“Nigerian athletes will not be left out of the cash windfall. Winners in both male and female categories will smile home with N1m each; runners-up will pocket N750, 000 and third-place winners will bag N500,000 respectively.

“There are also prizes for other winners up to the 10th position.

“One striking unique thing about the 2023 Onitsha City Marathon is the fact that there’s also a ‘pressman marathon’ as part of the show.

“The Onitsha City Marathon has been approved and licenced by the international body, International Marathon Races.

“In fact, it’s the international body that measured the 21km route”.

Chairman of the Anambra State Sports Commission, Patrick-Estate Onyedum, who was represented by Ms Faith Okwonna, Director of Sports in the Commission, said the State government fully supports the programme as it would not only benefit the masses health-wise but also boost the State’s economy, businesses and the environment at large.

The Obi of Onitsha, Obi Alfred Achebe, who spoke earlier thanked the Onitsha Business School, OBS, for the Onitsha City Marathon initiative.

The Royal Father assured the organisers of his full support and would even direct his red-cap chiefs to be part of it.

By Sab Osuji

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