The Technical Director of Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Yusuf Alli, has explained why at least 5,000 runners were disqualified on Saturday
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Alli made this known this in on Saturday in Lagos, noting that there disqualified due to failure to pick up their kits on time
Alli explained that the last minutes rush by the intending runners after the expiration of the deadline for picking the kits would affect getting the accurate record of runners.
He stressed that it is important that those who register for the marathon are timely in their online registration and in picking their kits for the race, to keep to the World Road Race’s standards.
“There were fewer runners in this year’s edition because many runners came late for the collection of their kits and we have to turn down about 5,000 that came on Thursday.
“People waited till the last minute and if we keep giving out kits until the last minutes, we won’t have accurate number of runners – which is our start sheet.
“People should abide by the deadline given; it’s not that we don’t want them, but we want to keep to the rules of the game which is good for us.
“I believe the numbers will increase because there was a time we had over 120,000 runners in the marathon but when COVID-19 came, it disrupted the figures, but we are picking up gradually,” he said.
Alli also stated further that the 42 km Gold Label race had improved tremendously more than when it started nine years ago.
“When we started the marathon, the time difference between the elite runners and Nigerians was 24 minutes, but today, it’s just 10 minutes, that means we are picking up.
“The world record in 1990 was 2:07 and Nigerian record stood at 2:15 years after. For some years, we went to sleep and didn’t do anything, this affected us.
“If we have been busy, we would have improved more, but with what I have seen today, by the next two years, Nigeria will be in the world top athletes, ” he said.
Alli, who was a a gold medalist at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand, pointed out that the marathon would look at ways to develop more Nigerian long distance runners.
“By next year, we will concentrate on Nigerian runners; there was more focus on the elite runners this year because it’s a year for the Olympics while many of the runners want to qualify.
“By next year, we will narrow the elite runners to fewer numbers, get them paid well; the money paid for 88 elites runners will be pruned to 20 elites, then we will have room to increase bonuses.
“The bonuses will be increased from 10,000 dollars to 20, 000 dollars which is a great incentive.
“For this year, the weather is not friendly so we are looking at a way of altering the date for the marathon, ” he said.
Alli, who is the Chairman of Nigerian Road Race, also mentioned the vision of his committee to improve the road races in Nigeria.
“What we will do to improve the quality of the road race is to streamline the numbers to have a clear cut road race.
“From 2016 till now, we now have about 70 and more races in Nigeria, but half of the road race are not measured which gives room for discrepancies.
“We will henceforth certify the road races and measure them with accurate marathon device to check malpractices.
“We also intend on having an exchange programme with the Kenyans to train Nigerian runners.
“It is cheaper to bring them to Nigeria than taking the athletes to Kenya; we will exchange notes to see where we can fit in with their programme, ” he said.