Nigeria’s Patience Daylop, yesterday, gave her compatriots reason to be hopeful of better days in long distance races, when she stopped what would have been a Kenyans clean sweep of honours at the second Lotus Bank Abeokuta 10km race.
The petite Daylop was cheered by the fans in front of the Alake of Egba’s Palace, the finishing line of the race, when she came in at 36 minutes 31 seconds to take the third position in the women’s category of the event usually dominated by East Africans.
Daylop, who said she was inspired by the support of the mammoth crowd to run the ‘race of my life,’ disclosed that she would have done better if she had a good beginning in the category won by Kenya’s Shamila Kipsiri in 32 minutes, 22 seconds.
Viola Sepkosgei, also of Kenya, took the second position with a time of 34 minutes, 34 seconds.
“I am so happy to be among the elite winners of this race. I promise my fans that I will train harder to do better in the forthcoming race in Abuja,” she said.
As has always been the case in recent time, Kenyans had a clean sweep of the men’s race, with Peter Mwaniki (28:14secs), Kipyeko Kenedy (29:29secs) and Kibii Frederick (30:21secs) taking the first, second and third positions respectively.
Francis James won the Nigeria’s men’s category with a time of 31 minutes, 08 seconds, followed by Stephen Joshua (31:30secs) and Emmanuel Gyang (32:07secs) in that order.
With Daylop already taking the Nigerian women’s number one position, Deborah Pam (37:02 secs) settled for the second position, while Abiye David (37:31 seconds) was the third best Nigerian woman at the event.
For winning the elite men’s race, Mwaniki went home with $5,000, second-placed Kenedy took $3,000, while Fredericks got $1,000 for finishing in the third position. The elite women also got the same amount as the men.
Nigeria’s top three finishers (men), James, Joshua and Gyang were rewarded with N1 million, N750, 000 and N500, 000 respectively. The country’s top three women, Dalop, Pam and David, also got N1 million, N750,000 and N500, 000 respectively.
Speaking at the end of the competition, an elated Bukola Olapade, whose company, NIlayo Sports Management, organises the race, said he was thrilled by the turn out and outcome of the competition.
Olopade said: “Whenever this sort of thing comes to your town, knowing that you grew up on this street, and you see young stars enjoying themselves, it is always very gratifying. So, I am truly glad that on a day we are celebrating our monarch, we are also having opportunity to enjoy a race of this nature with beautiful music, food everywhere and people just coming to feel good.”