Marathoner Deborah Pam, the fastest Nigerian female at the just-concluded 5th Okpekpe 10km Road Race, on Monday said she did not believe she could win because she was just recovering from an injury.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Bronze label road race held on May 13 in Okpekpe Town in Edo.
Pam told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that her success was due to consistent training when she was injury free.
“I will attribute my success to training; I train everyday unless I am not healthy but I never thought that I will win the 5th Okpekpe race because I was just recovering from injury.
“I really want to thank my training partner, Emmanuel Gyang, he kept pushing me not to give up. I am also grateful to God because he gave me the strength,’’ she said.
Pam, who works in the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said her way of relaxing was training effortlessly in order not to be caught unawares.
Ethiopian duo of Luel Gebrasilasis and Azmera Gebru emerged winners in the male and female foreign elite categories of the race.
Gebrasilasis coasted home to victory in 29:28 secs, clinching the top prize of 15,000 dollars, while his compatriot, Dawit Fikadu came second with a time of 29:34 secs and received the 10,000 dollars prize money.
Ethiopian, Jemeli Bekeli also touched the finish line in 32:22 secs to win the third prize of 7,000 dollars.
The fastest Nigerian in the male category of the race was Plateau State-born Jigade Monday, who raced to the finish line in 31:53 secs, followed by Emmanuel Gyang and Ismail Sajor, in the second and third positions respectively.
In the female category, Gebru, completed the race in 33:59 secs, followed by Kenya’s Veronica Maina, who finished in 34:19 secs and Timbili Jemeli, also from Kenya, third with a time of 34:39 secs.
The fastest Nigerian female athlete in the race, Deborah Pam, finished with a time of 38:15 secs and was followed by Elizabeth Nuhu from Nasarawa State with 38:41 secs.
Rose Ajusho came third with a time of 38:55 secs.
For the Nigerian male and female categories, the winners, first and second runners-up got N250,000, N100,000 and N80,000, respectively. (NAN)