By Jude Atupulazi
The commercial city of Onitsha will soon be abuzz with the kick-off of the maiden Onitsha City Marathon on this September. Onitsha Business School (OBS), the
promoters of the marathon, stated this on Wednesday at a press conference in Onitsha, Anambra State.
The OBS director, Prof Olusegun Sogbesan said, ‘This year’s marathon will feature five international elite athletes, who are in the top 300 in the world. We are bringing them in from various countries, and up 20 other foreign athletes will participate.
‘We aim at featuring over 2,000 local athletes, and we will have up to 50 viewing centres across Anambra, and Delta States, for people who cannot make it to Onitsha to watch the race live.”
Sogbesan said the aim of Onitsha Business School in establishing the Onitsha City Marathon was to bring economic dimension to sports, for many local athletes.
He added,” The vision is for it to be the undisputed best marathon reference in Africa; to be a platform for discovering, developing and deploying the avalanche sporting energies within the host environment and Africa at large, adopting effective coordinating methodology and contemporary technology.
“Everyday, we have people who throng the streets for exercise purposes, but they do it just for fitness sake. We want to bring economic dimensions to this fitness. We want young men who will earn from what they do.
“This is the initiative that we at Onitsha Business School have brought up as our social responsibility to both Onitsha our immediate environment and Nigeria. We want to put Onitsha on the map as a sports place, beyond the buying and selling that the city has become known for.”
The organisers disclosed that the prize money for victorious contestants is a total prize money of $400,000 for foreign athletes, and N10million for the local athletes.
Onitsha City Marathon is an initiative of the Onitsha Business School. It is a product of doctoral and master’s degree students’ simulation class aimed at providing a solution to an observed environmental challenge in an otherwise energetic community of vibrant youth populace idling away.