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LAGOS CITY MARATHON ORGANISERS DREAM GOLD LABEL

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The General Manager Lagos City Marathon, Yussuf Alli, is optimistic, that the race will become an IAAF Gold Labelled race before its fifth edition.

Last week, Lagos City Marathon, which had its maiden edition, last year, joined the global elite family as the IAAF granted the race a bronze label status after just two editions.

‘’This is a worthy feat and I must confess that it would not have possible without the vision and support of our Chairman, His Excellency, Akinwunmi Ambode, the Executive Governor of Lagos State.’’.

Alli revealed that Governor Ambode gave the Organizing Committee all the assistance they required to succeed.

“We need to commend his vision to organize the marathon in the first place.

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“Past administrations were not receptive to the idea, and within two years, the Lagos City Marathon has not only become Africa’s foremost one day event, it joined the league of the best marathons in the world like New York, London Berlin, Tokyo and others by being awarded an IAAF Label”.

Alli, who played a prominent role in the Okpekpe 10 km Road Race becoming an IAAF Bronze and Silver Labelled Race, said his aim, with the backing of Governor Ambode, is to get an IAAF Gold Label for the Lagos City Marathon before its fifth anniversary.

“As of today, there only four label races in Africa; Cape Town Marathon, Marathon du Gabon Okpekpe Road Race, and Lagos City Marathon.

Of the four, only Cape Town Marathon that is currently in its tenth edition has a Gold Label and today, we have more runners than all other marathons in Africa.

We had over fifty thousand in the first edition and over seventy thousand in the second edition. Our target in 2018 is over a hundred thousand runners, our elite field can compete with the global leaders in America and     Europe, while our prize money is one the best in the world.’’

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Alli said the Lagos City Marathon target for 2018 is the IAAF Silver Label which we believe is achievable, “ to get the Gold Label, all we need do is increase our elite field, build a world class media station at finish, complete closure of route to vehicular movement and others. I know with the support of our amiable Chairman Governor Ambode, we will achieve the Gold Label by our fifth edition”, said Alli.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Gara Gombe sets up committee for Gombe Inter Schools Athletics Championship

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Former chairman of Gombe State Football Association, Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gombe has inaugurated the Main Organising Committee for the Gombe State Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championship.

Last year at the primary schools edition, over a thousand pupils featured in what was the maiden edition sponsored by Ahmed Shuaibu-Gara Gombe who is also the chairman of the Gombe State Athletics Association. It was held at the Pantami Stadium.

The maiden competition had boys and girls from 47 schools in attendance. On Friday, in fulfilment of a pledge to raise the bar, the organising committee was set up  at the Gombe State University as part of private investment in sports development.

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Former 800m world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse banned for 16 months

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France’s former 800m world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse has received a 16-month ban from the French Anti-Doping Agency after missing three drug tests in the space of nine months. Bosse announced he was quitting athletics late last year due to recurrent injuries.

The sanction comes after the 31-year-old missed three drug tests between September 2022 and June 2023. Bosse had announced his retirement in December, seven months before the Paris 2024 Olympics. He had received notifications of breaches three times, with the period coinciding with his efforts to return to a high-level athletic performance despite grappling with a hamstring injury.

The initial breach occurred on 25 September 2022, when an anti-doping controller arrived at his residence to conduct a test within the athlete’s scheduled time slot, but Bosse was not available. He told French news outlet L’Équipe: “I was one foot in training, one foot on holiday.”

Bosse, who was eliminated at semi-final stage of the Tokyo Olympics, was enduring a thigh problem at the time. Following surgery in December 2022, Bosse embarked on a race against time with the aspiration of competing in his fourth Olympic Games in Paris.

On 1 May 2023, authorities tried to contact him again, but were unable to reach him during a time when he was with family in Nantes. “I wasn’t worried at that time because I had forgotten the previous one and so I thought I only had one. At that moment, I gave up completely.”

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Then a month later, a controller returned to his residence for another scheduled check, but the athlete was evidently absent. He was subsequently informed a few weeks later of a likely two-year suspension for failing to fulfill such obligations. 

Despite feeling dejected and shocked, Bosse attempted to defend himself by attributing the second violation to an issue with the absence of a doorbell.

“I made three mistakes, I accept. It’s true that I haven’t always been the best student when it comes to taking care of my location but, until then, it had never played any tricks on me. I know I should have been more serious but I would like to point out that I have been in the AFLD target group since 2012 and they have all my analyses.”

The 31-year-old was unable to recuperate following surgery on his right thigh last year and had been out of competition since April 2023.

Before his injury troubles he most notably secured fourth place in the 800m at the Rio Games back in 2016, and has yet to recapture the form that led to his crowning as the world champion over 800m in London in 2017. Bosse also got his hands on bronze at the European Championships in both 2012 and 2018.

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Since leaving his beloved sport behind, the Frenchman has starred in two reality TV shows in his homeland and focussed on his association combining sport and ecology which he launched with his friend and former international team-mate Bryan Cantero.

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Nigerian-born Ujah recalled to Britain’s relay squad after serving doping ban

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Athletics - Men's 4 x 100m Relay - Medal Ceremony - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - August 7, 2021. Silver medallists Chijindu Ujah of Britain, Zharnel Hughes of Britain, Richard Kilty of Britain and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake of Britain pose on the podium REUTERS/Andrew Boyers/File Photo

Chijindu Ujah has been recalled to Britain’s 4x100m squad for the World Athletics Relays in May, 10 months after serving his ban for a doping violation which resulted in his team being stripped of their silver medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Sprinter Ujah was banned by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for 22 months in October 2022, which was backdated from August 2021 to June 2023. However, the AIU had cleared Ujah of intentionally taking prohibited substances.

Britain were stripped of the Tokyo silver after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Ujah’s anti-doping rule violation, though former UK Athletics technical director Stephen Maguire had said he would be considered for selection again after his ban.

Ujah’s team mates Richard Kilty, Zharnel Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake also had their medals stripped, with Kilty saying they were left “devastated” since they had strictly followed the rules unlike Ujah.

All four sprinters were named in an eight-man 4x100m relay squad for the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas on May 4-5, giving Ujah another shot to redeem himself before the Olympic Games in Paris from July 26-Aug. 11.

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“They have had their fair share of challenges in recent years,” said Darren Campbell, British Athletics’ head of sprints, hurdles and relays.

“But I have had my own discussions with each and every member of the squad and know they are motivated, committed and focused on working together to reach Paris.”

-Reuters

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