Big Controversy! As Lagos City Marathon Organizers Deny Mary Akor Prize
By Tunji Balogun
The 2018 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon was marred by huge controversy as organizers denied Nigeria-born marathoner, Mary Akor her prize in the 42 kilometer (Nigerian category) race on Saturday, February 10, in Lagos.
Despite holding a Nigerian passport as prove of evidence, Akor was denied and manhandled by security agents at the IAAF bronze label race.
As a matter of fact, it was a case of robing Peter for Paul, after finishing the race, Akor like every other runners who presumed to have won prizes at the race came up to receive her N2 million cash reward, but was surprise by the action meted at her.
According to latest discovery, the organizer decided to deny Akor the prize basically because she hails from Benue State, one of the tribe categorized as minority centre, which makes it more difficult for her to win.
Akor was registered to compete in the race as a Nigerian, even though she is based in the United States, but the organizers preferred home-based athlete to win the prize, which according to sources will give them good opportunity to share the goodies.
As a result of this development, an agreement was reached to stop Akor by all means.
However, Kenyan-born French athlete Abraham Kiprotich, emerged winner of the 42 kilometer race after returning at time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 04 seconds.
Kiprotich, who failed a drug test in 2013 after his Istanbul Marathon win, having returned a positive result for erythropoietin (EPO) in a urine sample, was adjuged the overall best athlete after the race in Lagos. On 30 December 2013 it was officially announced that Kiprotich had failed a drug test.
According to leading French sports journal l’Equip, Kiprotich positive test was confirmed by the B sample, and was stripped of his Istanbul Marathon title, and was subsequently given a two-year ban from competition.
After the race in Lagos, Nigeria, Kiprotich pocked the sum of $50,000 prize for winning this year’s edition, thereby biting the 2 hours 16 minutes record set by Kenyan athlete Abraham Kiptum. In the women category, Ethiopian Herpha Guta won after completing the race in two hours and 38 minutes.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Kiprotich competed in the Men’s marathon but did not finish. He won the 10 km de Clermont Ferrand in a personal best time of 28:41 minutes. Ilya Pam wins the indigenous race in the men category with 2hours 27 minutes after finishing as the first Nigerian to pocket the N3 million prize money.
Athlete who finished second in the 42 kilometer race went home with $40,000, third position pocketed $30,000, while athletes who finished in fourth and fifth positions respectively were awarded the sum of $20,000 and $10,000 respectively.
The second best Nigerian athlete at the race got the sum of N2 million, while third and fourth positions were rewarded with the sum of N1 million and N500,000 respectively. The first indigenous 10km race winner won the exclusive GAC saloon car, second, third, fourth and fifth positions were not left behind as they also pocketed the sum of N1 million,
About 120,000 athletes participated in the 2018 IAAF Bronze Label Race. Meanwhile, Lagos State governor and chief host of the marathon, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said they are working towards securing the gold label for the marathon in year 2020.