Philibus Sharabutu, first runner-up in the Nigerian category of the 2nd Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, says there is “nothing special” about the performance of Kenyan stars.
Kenyans dominated the race which started at the National Stadium, Surulere and ended at the Eko Atlantic City in Victoria Island.
While Abrahm Kiptum won the overall prize of N25 million, Ronny Kiboss and Kiprotich Kiroi – Kiptum’s compatriots – came second and third respectively.
In the female category, Rhoda Jepkhorir, also a Kenyan was the first to cross the finish line
But speaking with NAN in Lagos on Monday, Sharabutu said Kenyan athletes won because of right infrastructure.
“The have no special blood in them, it’s just that they have the right infrastructure to train and excel,” he said.
“The only noticeable difference between the Kenyans and Ethiopians and Nigerian runners is the infrastructure provided by the East African countries.
“There is nothing special about the Kenyans as far as I’m concerned. What is the difference between us? We are better candidates for marathon than they are.
“I have competed with them at least two times outside the shores of Africa since I won the first in the Nigerian category in the maiden edition in 2016.
“We went to Paris and Doha and I have yet to see anything special in their blood that always makes them champions, but to be honest, they have the facilities for athletics.
“The government of those countries invests in the marathon routes to make it convenient for them to run which I believe our country could also copy.”
Sharabutu, who ran 2:37:51 to emerge second at the 2nd Access bank Lagos marathon, advised government to develop marathon routes in Jos, Plateau state, where the athletes could train.
He won the Nigerian category in the maiden edition in 2016, and 18th in the elite overall winners list with a time of 2.31.41.
Pam Iliya returned 2.37.21 and Peter Maham 2.39.07 to be first and second runners-up respectively.
“Nigeria can produce world beaters better than the East Africans because we also have a town that has the same altitude needed for marathon like them and that is Jos.
“We can have the marathon routes where we can train because training on roads is extremely dangerous, more so, it can’t bring out the best result,” he said.
“We need high altitude training so as to keep fit and sometimes keep our perspiration on the right frame for the breathing exercise which will sustain us during races.
“If Kenyans are dominating the marathon, that is not our fault because we can do better if we have the facilities to train with. I repeat, no special blood in those East Africans.”
Sharabutu said apart from the training part of preparation, Nigeria also needed to provide more marathon races for the athletes.
“From what I know, and according to standards, the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon is the only marathon we have in Nigeria. Modestly, it is not enough,” he said.
“We need marathon in places like Jos and Nasarawa so that we can have good competitions among ourselves. Aside National Sport Festival which is just a half marathon, no other.
“If we want to be in the same category with the East Africans, then we should promote marathon culture as they do and then there won’t be need to split the winner’s price again.
“If we have the right camping in Jos, I am sure the Kenyans and Ethiopians are no match for us.”
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