Category Archives: Athletics

Lagos Media Marathon: Olympic Gold Medalist, Enefiok Udo-Obong Hails Initiative

Olympic Gold Medalist, Enefiok Udo-Obong has commended the Lagos State arm of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ for their vision to hold the first Lagos Media Marathon.

Speaking in Lagos ahead of the December 1 race, Udo-Obong opined that it was a welcome development to see journalists take on an active role in a marathon event and not just watch and report.

According to him, the firsthand experience that would be garnered by the pen pushers is bound to give them a better experience and even improve their reportage going forward.

“This is really good, as it will help journalists understand better when athletes come to them with problems, or athletes behave in a way that they find offensive.

“It will also help journalists understand how an athlete feels post stress. Sometimes, it’s difficult to explain to journalists how you feel and some of the questions that irritate you immediately after a race.” The well-respected former quarter-miler now fitness coach stated.

For Udo-Obong, an initiative like the Lagos Media Marathon is also beneficial as it will help improve the fitness level of journalists.

“Journalists need to be fit too. Journalists need to take part in sports. Marathon is a social thing, a gathering and it’s a welcome idea. If the government is doing something like that, we should applaud it.” He submitted.

With the international press, as well as other runners across the world, expected to also take part in the Lagos Media Marathon, Udo-Obong agrees that it would be another veritable way to showcase Lagos to the world.

Enefiok Udo-Obong

He said: “Since it’s an international event, it’s a way to expose Lagos, because this time around, journalists will not just be covering the event with their focus in covering the event.

“They will be part of the event. They are involved in the event, and they are bound to see more than they would have seen if they were just covering the event. So, it’s actually a good showcase for the state.”

According to the organisers, The Lagos Media race will start at Anthony Bus stop, opposite Trem Church through Oshodi Oke, Charity, Airport Road, 7/8 Bus Stop, NACOC, Airport toll Gate, Concord Press, Airforce Base, MM 2, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Road, Ikeja Under Bridge at Ayinke House, Ikeja Bus Stop and finish at the New Ikeja Bus Terminus.

The route is chosen to showcase Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s massive infrastructural development on the Lagos Mainland.

The race is slated for Saturday, December 1, 2018.



The IAAF has today reached a substantial milestone in its campaign to raise awareness of the effects of air pollution, with the installation of its first stadium air quality monitor in Monaco.

As part of a pilot programme designed to highlight the need for clean air, the first device was set up at Stade Louis II in Monaco today, in the presence of HSH Prince Albert II, President of the Monaco Athletics Federation and Chair of the IOC Environment Commission, and Sebastian Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations.

“As chairman of the Monaco Athletics Federation I am proud that the Stade Louis II has been part of the IAAF Air Quality Device project which targets to improve the quality of environment and conditions of performances for the athletes, through data that has never been provided before,” HSH Prince Albert II said.

“After a first test during our IDL meeting Herculis EBS on July 20th, which has been ranked as the best meeting of the history, we are delighted to continue to work in this project. Stade Louis II will be the first stadium in the world with such tools, thus allowing the Principality to be a pioneer in terms of environmental consideration in sport.”

IAAF President Sebastian Coe added: “Air pollution is a silent killer which is affecting the health of athletes, local communities and our environment, so I’m delighted that the cooperation between the IAAF and our partners has brought this project to fruition and I hope that together we can raise awareness and help to improve air quality around the globe.”

Six more devices, supplied by Kunak Technologies SL, the Spanish company that won a tender process to provide the monitors, will be installed on athletics tracks around the world in the coming months as part of the project. Stadiums in Argentina, Ethiopia, Mexico, Sydney and Japan have been selected. A second device will also be installed at Stade Louis II to measure the difference between the air at each end of the stadium.

The IAAF and UN Environment (UNEP) announced in May that they were joining forces to address the issue of poor air quality, which has led to seven million deaths globally, according to a World Health Organisation study.

Fanny Demassieux, Head of the UNEP’s Pollution and Health Unit in Paris, was also at Stade Louis II today to mark the arrival of the air quality monitor, as were IAAF-UNEP Clean Air Ambassador Paula Radcliffe and IAAF Council Member and Chair of the IAAF Sustainable Development Advisory Group, Sylvia Barlag.

Ms Demassieux was delighted that the pilot been launched so quickly, given that discussions between the IAAF and UNEP only began in December last year.

“We’re very grateful that Prince Albert and the authorities of Monaco are part of the project, and this is actually what we want to see in other cities, that they include authorities in the discussions,” she said.

“The important thing is to raise the awareness among athletes and recreational runners of how important air quality is for their health. In order to improve air quality, we need to monitor it.”

The five-year partnership between the IAAF and UNEP, supported by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, aims to have 1000 monitors stationed in IAAF certified athletics tracks around the world providing real time air quality data. The pollutants that will be measured include PM2.5 (particles), PM10, O3 and NO2, which research shows are the four main elements that have an impact on the performance of athletes.

The Monaco Athletics Federation and Stade Louis II have been strong supporters of the project and hosted a demonstration of air quality monitors from the shortlisted tenderers during the Diamond League meeting Herculis in July this year.

© Philippe Fitte

With an informal network of more than half a billion runners around the world, the IAAF is in a unique position to promote global awareness of the health impacts of air pollution.

This is a particularly important issue for athletes, whose performances can be affected when they compete in poor air.

The IAAF Health and Science Department continues to study the correlation between air quality and athlete performance, following on from its preliminary research which found a performance reduction in highly polluted environments.

“Some recent athletics events took place in highly polluted cities and at exactly the worst time of the day possible, considering the traffic, solar irradiation and external temperature,” said the IAAF’s Health and Science Department Manager Dr Paolo Emilio Adami.

“Exercising in these atmospheric conditions, besides being extremely harmful, does not allow the athletes to perform at their best and ultimately lowers the standard of the competition. The air quality monitors will assist us in our further research on this subject. We want to do whatever we can to protect athletes from the negative effects of air pollution, and we believe this will also benefit the wider community, in fact anyone who exercises.”



Kevin Mayer had already established himself as a combined events superstar, but the French all-rounder elevated his status to an all-time great by smashing the decathlon world record in Talence on Sunday (16).

Had it not been for his three fouls in the decathlon long jump at last month’s European Championships in Berlin, Mayer most likely wouldn’t have competed at the Decastar meeting. But in the aftermath of that setback, the 26-year-old gained redemption in the best possible way: by smashing the world record.

In fact, it was the second world record of the day, coming just seven hours after Eliud Kipchoge clocked a stunning 2:01:39 at the Berlin Marathon.

Performing in front of a highly supportive home crowd, Mayer led from the outset, sprinting to 10.55 in the 100m, leaping 7.80m in the long jump, throwing 16.00m in the shot put, clearing 2.05m in the high jump and covering 400m in 48.42 to end the first day with 4563 points.

His momentum continued on the second day, speeding to 13.75 in the 110m hurdles, throwing 50.54m in the discus, clearing 5.45m in the pole vault, throwing 71.90m in the javelin before running the 1500m in 4:36.11, bringing his winning tally to 9126.

Kevin Mayer,
© AFP / Getty Images

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Mayer after adding 81 points to the world record set by USA’s Ashton Eaton at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015. “We live for moments like this that are simply incredible. I couldn’t cry. I don’t have any more tears left because I was crying so much before the 1500m.”

Multiple world and Olympic champion Eaton graciously expressed his admiration for Mayer’s achievement. “That was an incredible display of ability!” he tweeted. “I’m super happy for Kevin Mayer and even more for the future of the decathlon. The important thing to me has always been to keep pushing the limit and inspiring others to do the same. The more 9000 can become commonplace, the better.”


In a stunning display of distance running, Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge broke the world record* at the BMW Berlin Marathon on Sunday (16), winning the IAAF Gold Label road race in 2:01:39.

From the early stages of the race, the 33-year-old Kenyan had just a handful of pacemakers for company as they passed through five kilometres in 14:24 and 10 kilometres in 29:21. But shortly after 15 kilometres, which was reached in 43:38, two of the three pacemakers were unable to continue and withdrew from the race.

The final pacemaker, Josphat Boit, led Kipchoge through the half-way point in 1:01:06 before dropping out at 25 kilometres, covered in 1:12:24.

Running alone with 17 kilometres left, Kipchoge then sped up.

He passed the 35-kilometre checkpoint just a shade outside 1:41:00, suggesting a finishing time inside 2:02 was possible. By 40 kilometres, reached in 1:55:32, a world record looked a certainty.

Eliud Kipchoge
© Getty Images

Kipchoge maintained his form well in the closing stages and crossed the finish line in 2:01:39, taking one minute and 17 seconds off the previous world record set four years ago by Dennis Kimetto. It is the largest single improvement on the marathon world record since Derek Clayton improved the mark by two minutes and 23 seconds in 1967.


*Subject to the usual ratification procedure

Ahead Lagos Media Marathon Norrie Williamson To Measure Route – Ubani

The Chairman of the Organising Committee of Lagos Media Marathon, Tony Ubani, over the weekend, revealed that renowned marathons and road races route measurer Norrie Williamson will calibrate and measure the route of the Lagos Media Marathon.

Ubani also said Norrie’s report will be sent to AIMS and IAAF for certification and listing of the Lagos Media Marathon on the international marathon calendar.

The race will start at Anthony Bus stop, opposite Trem Church through Oshodi Oke, Charity, Airport Road, 7/8 Bus Stop, NACOC, Airport toll Gate, Concord Press, Airforce Base, MM 2, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Road, Ikeja Under Bridge at Ayinke House, Ikeja Bus Stop and finish at the New Ikeja Bus Terminus.

The route is chosen to showcase Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s massive infrastructural development on the Lagos Mainland.

The race is slated for Saturday, December 1, 2018.

“Marathons and road races records can be set at any meet. The reason we want to bring Norrie is because records can be set at our meet and we want it approved by the international bodies for marathon and road races and the world governing body in athletics, the IAAF’’ said Ubani.

The Chairman said the race is open to all intending runners but the prize is strictly for media practitioners, “fun runners who join our race will be entitled to consolation prizes but the prize money is for media practitioners”.

Norrie Williamson

According to Ubani, media practitioners include all members of NUJ and similar organizations worldwide, staff of corporate organizations who work in media-related departments like communications, advertising, public relations, graphics and allied industry.

“Also students of communication nationwide are encouraged to register and participate. There will be special prizes for them. Students of communications outside Lagos who have done fantastic times in road races and marathons and the time is certified by their State Athletics Association or the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) will be sponsored to Lagos to participate in the races”.


For the first time since 2010, Team Americas has triumphed at the IAAF Continental Cup, held in Ostrava, Czech Republic over the last two days.

The competition was exhilarating and fierce between the four continental teams and particularly between the two front-runners, defending champion Team Europe and eventual winner, Team Americas.

The Americas led by just 12 points after the first day, but pulled away on day two, led by particularly strong performances from their two athlete representatives Olympic triple jump champions Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia and Christian Taylor of the United States.

They joined non-competing captain Mike Powell, the world long jump record-holder, to accept a spectacular trophy, composed of 116 Bohemia crystal relay batons. Each member of the winning team received one of the hand-crafted batons as a memento.

“I’m really proud of all the athletes,” Powell said. “When I looked at the entries, we had a stacked team. Winning the first track race, the 100m hurdles, created a lot of momentum for the team, and for me. At first I was kind of watching it, but then I was counting every point.”

Victory in the final event, the mixed 4x400m relay, sealed the win for the Americas as they tallied 262 points to Europe’s 233. The Asia-Pacific team had their best outing at this competition, finishing third (188) ahead of Africa (142).

Athletes from all teams had their moments over the two days but Taylor and Ibarguen inspired with two victories each. Ibarguen completed the triple jump-long jump double on Sunday with a personal best and Colombian national record of 6.93m, and Taylor soared to 17.59m as he dominated the men’s triple jump and then backed up to lead off the winning 4x400m relay.

Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas provided the third double for the Americas on Sunday, backing up from a brilliant win in the 200m to join Taylor in the 4x400m relay.

This year’s Continental Cup trialled some new competition formats in the distance events, horizontal jumps and throws, which sparked much debate among athletes, coaches and fans as the IAAF strives to create new ways for people to engage with the sport.

Taylor said he had enjoyed the challenge of competing in the elimination format used for the jumps and throws, and he encouraged the IAAF President Sebastian Coe to continue his quest for innovation.

© Getty Images

“All the rule changes have been a lot of fun for the viewers,’’ he said. “As athletes we had to adjust a little bit. For the jumps I think there could be some cleaning up. On the last jump it would have been nice to have a minute’s recovery outright to jump further but, you know, it’s trial and error. It’s not going to always go well the first time but… stay patient. I applaud Seb for trying, and I’m excited that we’re trying to be innovative and try new things.”

Coe said it was “an ideal opportunity to road-test some innovative ideas’’.

“Some were very exciting, like the mixed relay and the men’s elimination 3000m. The spectator area which was introduced at the warm up track was always full and that’s all part of getting the spectators closer to the athletes.

“Some of the formats are more of a challenge and we need to reflect but let’s not lose our nerve here. We have to innovate and if we don’t innovate, we die. We will now consider what we have seen here, and consult with the athletics community, including athletics and fans. We have plenty to discuss.’’

For full reports on the IAAF Continental Cup competition, go to our dedicated mini-site on

IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 Gets Underway Tomorrow…

When the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 gets underway on Saturday before a packed house at Ostrava’s Mestsky Stadium, one of the IAAF’s most venerable competitions will be sporting an updated look.

The Continental Cup, which began as the World Cup in 1977, is the IAAF’s oldest in-stadium competition, this weekend celebrating its 13th edition, the third as the Continental Cup. Taking to heart the IAAF’s emphasis on introducing innovative approaches to its competitions, the Ostrava 2018 Local Organising Committee has incorporated several changes to the programme that promise to bring added excitement and drama to the sold-out two-day event. Among them are qualification and elimination phases in the horizontal jumps, throws and some middle distance races.

“I was delighted that the Czech federation were really prepared to pick up the baton when I said I wanted innovation, when we wanted challenging change,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe at a press conference this afternoon with the weekend’s Continental Cup Team Captains and Team Representatives.

“There will be concepts and formats that you will see over the next couple of days that I think we can understand and learn from, and absorb and adapt.

© Getty Images

“We want to be innovative, we want to be imaginative,” Coe continued. “Not everything we’re going to try is going to work out the first time around. The athletes seated next to me know that to succeed, you sometimes need to road-test and do things differently. And that’s really what we’re about.”

Libor Varhanik, President of the Czech Athletics Federation and the Ostrava 2018 Local Organising Committee, also shared his excitement ahead of what will be this year’s largest sporting event in the Czech Republic.

“We are delighted that we will have a packed stadium,” he said. “The interest was huge and we’ve sold out many days ago. That’s a very good sign for athletics in this country. And for athletics in general.”