JUST IN: Bauchi, Plateau Dominate As Barau Wins Diri’s 21km Marathon

Wadata Barau of Bauchi State on Saturday emerged winner of the male category of the fourth edition of the Senator Douye Diri (SDD) Bayelsa Marathon.

About 135 athletes participat­ed in the elite, teens (male and female students) and leisure run­ners categories of the 21km and 5km races, respectively.

A 24-year-old Barau, a 400-lev­el student of the Abubakar Tafa­wa Balewa University, Bauchi, beat other participants in the 21km elite event to clinch the N500,000 star prize.

The race flagged off from the Akenfa community, along Glo­ry Drive, and terminated at the Peace Park in Yenagoa.

Nenfort Martins from Pla­teau State came second and re­ceived a cash prize of N300,000, while Selengue Constant, also from Plateau, was third and got N200,000.

In the female category, Yilven Nicholas from Plateau State came first and took the N500,000 prize, followed by Delta State-born Charity Agofure, who got N300,000, while Goar Grace of Plateau State placed third and received N200,000.

In the male teen category, An­drew Bright emerged champion with a cash reward of N150,000, Wisdom Fyneface placed second and got N100,000, while Abule Ayibakipriye and Moses Amala­la had a tie for third place and received the N50,000 prize.

Speaking at the event, Bayel­sa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, congratulated the athletes and bikers for partici­pating in the SDD Bayelsa Mar­athon, which he said had come to stay.

Describing Bayelsa as a sporting state, the governor ex­pressed gratitude to the chair­man and members of the Local Organising Committee and the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Daniel Igali, as well as the sponsors for sustaining the marathon and making it a success.

He said: “The marathon was initiated by a young man in the state, Comrade Odonkumo Igbeita, who mobilised some persons on a walk from Kolo­kuma/Opokuma to Yenagoa in appreciation of my emergence as governor in February 2020.

“Since then, l became inter­ested in their activities and this is the fourth edition in the mar­athon series.

“l am happy that young peo­ple have keyed into the SDD Bayelsa Marathon and the participants of this race will go beyond Bayelsa and excel at national and international com­petitions. Bayelsa should be the cradle of sports in Nigeria.”

Diri, who stressed that the government alone cannot fund the development of sports, urged corporate organisations, partic­ularly the international oil com­panies operating in the state, to take up sponsorship of sporting activities and steer the youths to­ward meaningful ventures.

He commended Igali for his effort at encouraging and groom­ing young talents from primary and secondary schools as well as the sponsors of the marathon, which included the Dr. Gloria Diri Foundation and Tonye Is­enah Foundation.

In his remarks, the Commis­sioner for Youth and Sports, Daniel Igali, said: “The governor has done exceedingly well in the past four years, particularly for investing in road infrastructure and sports development.”

Igali explained that the or­ganising committee added the students’ category in this year’s edition, stating that speed walk would be part of next year’s event.

Also speaking, chairman of the Bayelsa Marathon Club, Comrade Odonkumo Igbeita, said the vision for starting the SDD Marathon was to emulate other states that host such events as well as help to boost the tour­ism sector.

Igbeita expressed appreci­ation to the state government for supporting the event and thanked the Gloria Diri Founda­tion and the Tonye Isenah Foun­dation for their sponsorship.