BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai has registered as participant for the maiden Kaduna International Marathon 2020 billed for November 21, 2020.
The governor however said in view of his age, he will only run for 5Km while assuring the state government’s full support.
The 21km half marathan race is expected to gulp between N250 to N300 million with 20 elite male and female athletes expected from across the world according to the organizers.
Addressing a world press conference yesterday at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna, Governor el-Rufai said the 21km half marathon race, with the theme: ‘Let’s Run Together’,is aimed at talent hunting, engaging the youth and attracting investment opportunities to the state.
He disclosed that, there would be prize money ranging from $10,000 for the winner to $1,000 for the 10th position in the male and female elite category while N3 million for the first placed Nigerian male and female runners and N250,000 for the 10th placed runner in that category.
He further disclosed that aside the 20 male and female elite athletes invited, over 50,000 local and international runners are expected to participate.
“The Kaduna Runs is designed as an annual sporting event of economic benefit to all. We hope it would help Kaduna state as an investment hub and spotting talent”.
“Kaduna Runs is fully funded by sponsors and participants who registered to run. Kaduna runs is designed as a family and all inclusive affairs, it is 13 miles so it is less strenuous than full marathon. Registered runners can drop off at any point, as participants can run 5km, 10km. I have already registered and I would not do more than 5km”.
“We intend to raise the prize money and in 2021, we intent to put a line budget and double the prize money. It would be sustained until 2023 when we would leave office. Sports is a source of health and livelihood, a way of getting youths engaged and a business that can export footballers, athletes, basketballers.
“We want to revive Kaduna clay court tennis tournament, make Kaduna annual governors tournament to be an international golf event.”
Earlier, Chairman of the organising committee who is the Special Adviser/cancellor to the governor, Mr Jimi Lawal said though there are lots of costs to cover, “we have few companies committed to be title sponsor, platinum, gold, silver and bronze sponsors. We are looking at between N250 and N300 million as cost of the Kaduna Marathon race.
“We are sure of attracting enough sponsors to cover the costs. If we can attract the sponsors, it shows that the competition is sustainable.”
Consultant to the Kaduna International Marathon 2020, Mr Bukola Olopade said Kaduna state used to be known as provider of sports talents but now “Kaduna state has grown from provider of sports talents to providing the infrastructure to develop the talents. We want to bring everybody together to participate both the young, the old, the villagers, the city people,especially the women”.
In his remarks, Kaduna state Commissioner for Sports Development, Prof. Kabiru Mato, said Kaduna International Marathon is part of the foundation to bringing the state back to its past glory as provider of sporting talents.
“Kaduna shall revert back to its old former self of sports production and reproduction. No city has produced more national team stars that Kaduna State. In the next few years, we would lay solid foundation to make Kaduna greater in sports which is the rationale behind the Kaduna Marathon race.”
Meanwhile, Governor el-Rufai was appointed and decorated as patron for Authentic Super Eagles Supporters Club based on his achievements in sports development.