Two Olympians, Garba Lawal and Abbas Mohammed, has heaped praises on the government of Kaduna State led by the governor, Nasir el-Rufai, for deeming it fit to organize a marathon race for the state.
The governor at the weekend reiterated his commitment to youths and infrastructure development while assuring the sustainability of the marathon. Speaking with New Telegraph, retired Super Eagles midfielder, Lawal said with the coming of the marathon, the youths in the state would have something to look forward to.
According to him, the biggest event for any athlete is the Olympic Games and running at the marathon could present an opportunity for the state upcoming athletes to be part of the Games in the future.
“You cannot compare the joy of competing at the Olympics with anything, and you can only do that when you have the platform to qualify for it,” the Atlanta 1996 Olymp i c Games gold medalist said.
“If they can perform well at the marathon, who says they cannot qualify for the Olympics? The joy of the games is not about winning, but about participating. “I have been there and I know what it takes to be there, so I really want to applaud the government for accepting the idea and supporting the race.”
Speaking also with our correspondent, the country’s record holder in full marathon, Abbas Mohammed, said the El-Rufai government had given a new face of life for long distance runners in the state with the s t a g – ing of the Kaduna Marathon. According to him, Nigeria has what it takes to compete with their counterparts from East African and all they need to do is to work hard.
Mohammed who represented the country at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games said Kaduna weather is good for proper preparation for any top race across the world. He added: “you don’t have to start looking for altitude again because the weather in Kaduna is good enough.
“The problem facing our long distance runners has been lack of proper planning as they always want to be part of all races in the country which not supposed to be so.