From Debra Ajulo, Ilorin
No fewer than 150 students drawn from public schools in Omu-Aran, Kwara state, participated in the 2019 Mini-marathon organised by Skylarks’ Club of Omu-Aran in Irepodun Local Government Area on Sunday.
The 10 kilometers Mini-marathon, the third in the series, was geared toward boosting youths’ participation in sporting activities, especially at the grassroot.
The race, which commenced from Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) gate along Omu-Aran-Kabba Highway as early as 6:45 am terminated at Bareke roundabout in the metropolis.
In his remarks, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, called for stakeholders’ collective responsibility in ensuring the desired sports development in the area.
Adeoti, who commended the organisers for their vision and foresight as regards sports development, urged more public and private partnership to achieve the desired objective.
According to him, government alone cannot shoulder the wants and demands of every community, hence the need for collective efforts to achieving the desired target.
The monarch, who described running as a good form of exercise, urged the youths not to lose focus in combining sports with their academic pursuit for them to stay healthy and achieve excellence in their studies.
He expressed hope that the event would be a continuous exercise in order to move the community forward as far as sports development was concerned.
The monarch said: “Running is a good form of strengthening our muscles and other parts of our body in order to be active health-wise.
“As you can see, I have been walking around since morning even before the commencement of the marathon race to show and lead by example.
“Our youths should be agile, active, particularly when it comes to sporting activities.
“Such will be a good motivation for them to excel in their academic programmes also,’’ he said.
Mr James Sangoyomi, President, Skylarks Club of Omu-Aran, in his remarks, noted that the club was determined to expand the scope of the game to accommodate more participants outside the community.
He disclosed that the club would also institute a health walk for different categories of indigenes as contemporary to the marathon race.
“We are just starting. Our plan is to expand this game to attract more students from other councils as a way of improving youths’ participation in sporting activities,’’ Sangoyomi said.
He said that the game was funded from donations by members and promised its sustenance in making the event a yearly one.
Alhaji Ali Durotoye, an Assistant Director, in the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, who coordinated the race activities, expressed satisfaction with the level of its organisation.
He said the Mini-marathon was already approved by the state Athletics Association.
Kareem Bidemi of Aperan Comprehensive High School, Omu-Aran, came first in the male category while Salihu Mistura of Omu-Aran High School, Omu-Aran, came first in the female category.
Bidemi returned with a time of 42min : 03seconds while Salihu returned with a time of 49min :11seconds to clinch first in the male and female categories respectively.
The 1st, 2nd, 3rd placements attracted N50, 000, N20, 000, N15, 000 and N10, 000 prize monies respectively in form of scholarships.