Onitsha City Marathon (OCM) organizers say the second edition of the race will take place in 2023.
Olusegun Sogbesan, Director General of Onitsha Business School, organizers of OCM, had this to say in an interview with sports journalists in Awka on Wednesday.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that the first edition of the race was held in October 2019 with no less than 1,000 athletes from Nigeria and 11 other countries.
Sogbesan said that COVID-19 affected the competition in 2020.
He added that the lack of sponsorship was a great challenge for the organization of subsequent editions.
Sogbesan said CMO organizers were in discussion with Anambra Sports Development Commission Chairman Patrick Onyedum about the possible return of the marathon in 2023.
“The chairman of the commission has shown great interest in the marathon and negotiations are underway on how to bring the marathon back so that local and international long-distance runners can compete for glory on the streets of Onitsha.
“We still have our certification, an IAAF visiting adviser. Onitsha had the best marathon route in Africa, we are willing to work with the Anambra State Government to develop the sector,” he said.
Sogbesan said the five-year sponsorship deal could not come to fruition because the CMO failed to get backing from the previous state government.
He noted that state government approval was a precondition for willing sponsors to reach an agreement with organizers to finance the marathon.
“We lost a huge amount of money, Anambra State lost that money, only one bank had agreed to sponsor the marathon to the tune of N400 million for a period of five years.
“It's not that the state sponsors it, but some of the corporate organizations that indicated interest in sponsoring it wanted to have confirmation from the state, but we lost that.
"That would have helped build three sports centers in the state, it would have improved the qualification of the marathon itself with additional certification," he said.
Source Credit: NAN