No fewer than 150 students drawn from public schools in Omu-Aran, Kwara, participated in the 2019 Mini-Marathon organised by Skylarks’ Club of Omu-Aran in Irepodun Local Government Area on Sunday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 10 km Mini-Marathon, the third in the series, was geared toward boosting youths’ participation in sporting activities, especially at the grassroots.
The race, which commenced from Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) gate along Omu-Aran-Kabba Highway as early as 6:45 a.m., terminated at Bareke roundabout in the metropolis.
Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, in his remarks, called for stakeholders’ collective responsibility in ensuring the desired sports development in the area.
Adeoti, who commended the organisers for their vision and foresight as regards sports development, urged more public and private partnership to achieve the desired objective.
According to him, government alone cannot shoulder the wants and demands of every community, hence the need for collective efforts to achieve the desired target.
The monarch described running as a good form of exercise.
He urged the youth not to lose focus in combining sporting activities with their academic pursuit for them to stay healthy and achieve excellence in their studies.
He was hopeful that the event would be a continuous exercise in order to move the community forward as far as sports development was concerned.
Adeoti said: “Running is a good form of strengthening our muscles and other parts of our body in order to be active health-wise.
“As you can see, I have been walking around since morning even before the commencement of the marathon race to show and lead by example.
“Our youths should be agile, active, particularly when it comes to sporting activities.
“Such will be a good motivation for them to excel in their academic programmes also.’’
Mr James Sangoyomi, President, Skylarks’ Club of Omu-Aran, in his remarks, noted that the club was determined to expand the scope of the game to accommodate more participants outside the community.
He said that the club would also institute a health walk for different categories of indigenes as contemporary to the marathon race.
“We are just starting. Our plan is to expand this game to attract more students from other councils as a way of improving youths’ participation in sporting activities,’’ Sangoyomi said.
He said that the game was funded from donations by members and promised its sustenance in making the event a yearly one.
Alhaji Ali Durotoye, a Director in the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, who coordinated the race activities, expressed satisfaction with the level of its organisation.
He said the Mini-Marathon was already approved by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
NAN reports that Kareem Bidemi of Aperan Comprehensive High School, Omu-Aran, came first in the male category while Mistura Salihu of Omu-Aran High School, Omu-Aran, came first in the female category.
Bidemi returned with a time of 42 mins: 03 seconds while Salihu returned with a time of 49 mins:11 seconds to clinch first in the male and female categories respectively.
NAN also reports that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd placements attracted N50, 000, N20, 000 and N10, 000 prize monies respectively in form of scholarships.