15-YEAR-OLD RUNNER ACHIEVES GREAT FEAT IN IFE HERITAGE MARATHON RACE.

 Sunday, 4th February, 2018.
By Olufemi Alfred .O.





   Olayinka Peter-pan, a 15-year-old indigene of Ife central, Osun state , clinched the first position in the maiden edition of Ile-ife heritage Marathon hosted at the ancient city of Ile-ife in the early hours of Sunday, February 4.

  He finished the 42.195-kilometre-long race in 2 hours 44minutes, which makes it a spectacular attempt considering his age and the world's best record of 2hours 2 minutes.

    Olayinka's trainer, Coach Ola, couldn't hide his excitement having trained the young lad for a year and a half. The coach shared his previous records and attested to his determination and diligence in a bid to win the marathon.

    "He took the 8th position in an half marathon last year so he was determined to make it up at this one." he said.


   In an interview with the youngster, he expressed his excitement and his wishes to use this athletics skills beyond the shores of Nigeria.

    "I'm happy, though this is not my first time. I will like to travel outside this country to exhibit my skills." Olayinka told OAU KILONSHELE.

   It was gathered by OAU KILONSHELE that; initially, he couldn't raise the application fee for the marathon entry until the coach offered an assistance.

    The race had participants from Nigeria, United states of America, Israel, Germany and Netherlands. One of them is the celebrated German runner, Klaus Westphal, who had participated in over one hundred marathons in different countries.

   Dayo Oyebade, the primal organiser and an alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University, ile-ife, expressed her joy. "This is my way of giving back to the community that nurtured me."

     Being a marathoner and the brain behind the initiative, she highlighted the challenges she faced, ranging from fund raising to logistics and partnerships.

   She promised to sustained the programme by making it an annual event and announced that the next edition will be held in the month of February, 2019.

    Speaking with our correspondent, Olufemi Bimpe, the captain of a cyclist' club in Lagos, stated her observations as regards the success of the young chap.

   Bimpe expressed the unprofessionalism on the part of Olayinka's coach, who has trained the boy in a way that he did not hydrate enough as expected during the race, which is injurious to his health.

   "I noticed that the boy wasn't stopping at the stations to get liquid as expected. That is harmful." she commented.

   She added by expressing her optimistic view about the development of sports in Nigeria. "The development requires time and it can not happen overnight but with programmes like this, Nigeria will really do good things in the world of sports".

    Moreover, the Director of Sports coaching and training of Osun state sport's council, Ademola Daini, spoke extensively on the development of sports in the state and the Country as a whole using Olayinka's feat as an example.

"if not for this international marathon, we would not have discovered this international marathoner."

   However, after the acknowledgement of the challenges faced by the organisers, the state sport's officer promised that the state government will support subsequent editions of the programme because it's an avenue to discover talented and exceptional Nigerian athletes.

    Omolayo Ade won the first position in the female category while Roselyn Onyedike and Affiong Williams, an award winning entrepreneur, were the first and second runners-up respectively. Adedayo Adegoke and
Akande Quadri Atanda won the same in the male category.

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