The Managing Director of Abuja International Marathon (AIM), Zsuzsanna Ogunmiloyo, on Tuesday, said the feat of Team Nigeria’s hurdler, Tobi Amusan, will usher in a new era of positive developments in Nigerian sports, not just athletics.
On Sunday, July 24, on the final day of the World Athletics Championships, in Oregon, USA, Amusan broke the world record of the 100m hurdles, setting a new mark of 12:12 sec in the semi-final, she also won the gold medal in the event in a wind-assisted time of 12.06 sec.
Amusan had earlier broken the African record in the heats to make a statement.
In a press statement signed by AIM Race Director, Olukayode Thomas, who also heads Media and Publicity, Ogunmiloyo said Amusan exemplifies what Nigerian youth can achieve if given the opportunities and the enabling environment to excel.
“I have been to most parts of the world, and Nigeria youths rank among the best in the world. Their hunger for education is amazing, while those who are artisanal are always at the top of their game, they are industrious and focused and they work and get things done with little supervision.
“Amusan’s feat is an example of what millions of our youths can achieve if we give more opportunities and create the environment for them to excel not just in sports but other fields of human endeavours”.
Ogunmiloyo revealed that beyond showcasing Abuja’s beauty to the world, encouraging tourism, boosting the economy and the health benefits that come with running, another major aim of the Abuja International Marathon is to assist the youth, especially those from the North who have several similarities with Kenyans and Ethiopians to fulfil their potentials in marathons and long-distance races.
“I sometimes wonder how little we Nigerians know about our country. Many Nigerians are shocked when I tell them that at the time the world record in the marathon was 2:08.00 we had Nigerians running 2:14: 00 like Abass Muhammed and Yohana Waziri and we have women like Hulda Nwokocha competing around the world with the best of the world.
“I am positive that if we had pushed these legends with the resources they needed then Nigerians will be excelling in marathons and long-distance races today the way Kenyans are excelling in sprints, quarter-mile and field events, an area we used to dominate”.
Ogunmiloyo promised to meet Amusan at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and discuss with her how Unicentral Resources Management Limited, the licensee of Abuja International Marathon (AIM), will honour her before going to the media with Unicentral plans for her. Ogunmiloyo is the CEO of Unicentral.