Nigeria: Ogun State hosts first-ever Africa Ultra Race Championship
By Taiwo Adelu
London, July 1, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Ijebu Remo land in Ogun State, South West Nigeria is on the verge of making history as the community to host first-ever Africa Ultra Race Championship.
The historic competition will take place on Saturday, 7 December, 2019.
Ultra Race is a 160 km foot race in 4 stages, with 6000 meters of positive elevation, 7000 meters of negative elevation in Self-Supported. Each competitor must carry a backpack containing the compulsory equipment, food and personal belongings
The event tagged Value Jet International Africa Ultra Race Championship Remo 2019, a 50km race, will attract runners from countries within the African continent who will storm Ijebu Remo to fight for honours and prize monies at stake.
Ijebu Remo consists of Ode-Lemo, Ogijo, Ogere, Iperu, Ilisan, Ikenne, Ilara/Akaka, Irolu, Ipara, Isara, Sagamu and Ode-Remo with the paramount rule called the Akarigbo who is the Heads of all Kings in Remo land.
Alternative Africa reports that Remo 2019 Championship will be a unique event as it will be the first time Ultra Race will be staging Africa tournament and first time ever in the world when an Ultra Race event will be placing prize monies on table for runners. The running routes are being measured by one of the experts in the field, South African Norrie Williamson who was in Sagamu, Remo in Ogun State since Thursday, 27 June, 2019 to physically inspect what the organisers of the Race have put on ground for a smooth organisation of the competition which has also been tagged the “Pride of Remo” by the indigenes.
Williamson, a former champion of Ultra Race, is an International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) technical expert who had measured races in four Olympic Games, an IAAF Level 1 Measurer told Alternative Africa in Sagamu that Remo 2019 Ultra Race Africa Championship means a lot to him being the first African tournament that will be taking place.
“I want to congratulate Nigeria and indeed the people of Remo land for giving their blessings for us to bring this great competition to this place. It is indeed an honour. Ultra Race has been in existence in the last 35 years, we have been having local races in South Africa where the race is popular but not a tournament that will bring all runners from Africa to one place for competition.
“We will be having strong teams from South Africa and Cape Verde, I am expecting at least 240 international runners to be at this event. You can imagine the activities and multiplier effects around this one day event in terms of positive tourist impacts to Remo land, revenue generation for the locals and indeed the exposure of Remo land to the world. That is why we are very much conscious of what we are doing to put up the very best technical organisation that will be of world standard.
“I have gone round to see the routes and I have informed the Local Organising Committee of necessary things that must be put in place and I have the confidence that Remo 2019 event will be a huge success,” he said.
The Technical Manager of the event, Mr. Yusuf Alli, former Nigerian athletic international and three-time Olympian disclosed that the Remo Race will be competed in both individual and team categories, adding that runners will register as individuals, while each African nation will register as a team.
“Because of the rigorous process of processing Nigerian visas, we planned to close registration two months before the 7 December date of the tournament, while application for visas for the international runners would have begun a month to the event,” said Alli, the long jumper who is best known for his gold medal at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. His personal best is 8.27 metres, achieved at the 1989 African Championships in athletics in Lagos.
President of International Ultra Race (Africa), Evangelist Solomon Ogba said runners from all over Africa will be mobilised for the Remo 2019 event.
“This event is going to be unique because it is taking place in a rural environment and it will be very historic because Remo land is popular in Nigeria history. We are going to release the guidelines for countries and individual participations. Remo Ultra Race will soon become the African qualifiers for the World Cup and I believe that in no distance future Remo will host the World Cup,” said Ogba, former President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN),
To the CEO of the Patent Owner of the event, Nilayo Sports Marketing Limited, Mr. Bukola Olopade, Nigeria needs more road races. He challenged other sports marketers in the country to bring in more of the races. He said that apart from the 50km Ultra Race, indigenes of Ogun State and other Nigerians will compete in 5km race on the day of the event.
“The Executive Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun is in support of the Remo Race and he had directed that we meet with top government officials to discuss on the collaboration for the success of the event,” he said.
Olopade noted that awareness on road races has been on the increase in the country, adding that the organisers will mobilise youths and students from Ogun State through the ministries of Education and Sports for mass participation.
“The success of Access Bank Lagos City Marathon motivated us to go into this road race and we will put our resources to ensure success of this maiden Africa Ultra Race Championship,” said Olopade, who was former Commissioner of Sports in Ogun State.
Falilat Ogunkoya, a former Nigerian athletics international described the hosting of the African tournament as a blessing to Nigeria and indeed Remo Kingdom who is her place of birth.
“The Akarigbo of Remo Kingdom was very happy when we informed him of this event. He was elated because the competition would further expose the rich cultural and tourism heritage of our place of birth. Let me assure the organisers that we will mobilise every sons and daughters of Remo Kingdom to ensure the success of our tournament,” she said.