17-year-old Gyang wins Calabar marathon

Gwom James Giang, at the weekend, beat the field to win maiden Calabar Marathon. The 17-year-old runner from Plateau State ran the 15-kilometre race in 39.8 minutes to win the N500,000 star prize for his effort.

Shaba Dare Eniola, 36, from Ondo State, and 22-year-old Yusuf Bapiye from Plateau State, who clocked 39.12 minutes and 39.19 minutes, emerged second and third in that order to pocket N300,000 and N200,000 each.

In the women’s category, Delta State’s Agofore Charity returned in 44.38 minutes to win the first prize of N500,000, while Elizabeth Nuhu and Cross River-born Godsmind Eteng, 12, who emerged first and second runners up bagged N300,000 and N200,000 respectively.

Over 500 professional and fun runners nationwide participated in the 15km Calabar Marathon with the theme “Abstinence from Drugs.”

Speaking shortly after the flag off of the race, which started at the Eleven Eleven Roundabout, through the Carnival Calabar Route and terminated at the Marina Resort, Cross River State Governor, Bassey Otu, who was represented by his Special Advisor on General Duties, Ekpenyong Akiba, said the initiative was a deliberate effort to take the youths away from drugs and at the same time create a platform for sports enthusiasts to harness their God-given potential and be useful to themselves and the society.

He said the race was organised to unearth hidden talents in the state and its environs, adding that given some time the programme would produce world beaters, who would represent the state and Nigeria at local and global competitions.

“Don’t forget that Calabar is the cradle of modern civilisation and that football started here. What we are doing today is to reenact our first position that was recorded in several events to regain our pride of place. 

“As you are aware, if the youths are not gainfully engaged, they will channel those energies to drugs and other vices inimical to their growth. And over the years, there has been a serious hike in drug-reflected crimes amongst the youths and we find this marathon as the best channel to carry out this sensitisation campaign against drugs and other vices.”

Managing Director, Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Prince Ekpenyong Ojoi, who described the event as a good tourism offering to the state, said, “We are here to remind the world that sports started in Calabar and we are ready to world sports lovers all over the world.

“Youths all over the world are looking for opportunities to expel those energies in them and we are putting this together to trap those energies that are often channelled on drugs to a more useful and gainful venture that will be beneficial to them and the society.”

On the security of athletes and other tourists to the state, the Commissioner of Police, Cross River State Command, Mr Gyogon Augustine Grimah, assured all visitors for fun and business that the state remains a safe place, assuring that his men are always on alert to arrest the slightest breach of peace.

The CP advised the youths in the state to get actively involved in the various development initiatives put in place by the state government to ensure that no useful hand and mind is made idle and also to shun all forms of crimes.

Back to top button