7 Year-Old Hassanat Emerge Champion As Akinniye Defends EYP Marathon Title


Akinwunmi Rufus Akinniye has again shown great resilience coming up against elite racers like himself at the Estate Youth Parliament (EYP) 2022 Marathon challenge while putting up a brilliant spectacle and successfully defending his 5 laps EYP Marathon title for the second consecutive season.

Akinniye took down Oluwaseyi Abiola’s one-time winning record of 44.54s going on to set a new winning record of 44.10s.

Seyi an internationally based racer was in 2020 the first ever winner of the EYP Marathon challenge after it commenced.

EYP’s Lasisi Emmanuel started very well in the race and he did well to hang on to the 3rd spot before overtaking Seyi Abiola’s 2nd leading racer position at the last lap which was not the kind of outcome EYP champion Abiola would have hoped for.

Participants of the 2022 edition of the EYP Marathon Challenge, during the race at Jakande Estate, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos

The event lived up to its objective of unearthing talents.

Abiola told newsmen that his emergence in 2020 bore to the fact that he still had a lot of hardcore training in him as he had just returned to the country then.

He noted that although his second position was overtaken, his resilience towards success can never be defeated as his present state determines his success rate which stimulates him to practice harder ahead of more racing competitions.

However, the racing outcome has become a spectacular season for Akinniye, scooping a plethora of trophies at the event as he records the best 5 laps hurdler in this season.

While sharing his heartfelt feelings, Akinniye noted that he won the trophy through self-determination by going extra mile in practising harder to retain the good history.

Hon Paul Fregene, Secretary, Ejigbo LCDA, presenting Akinniye Rufus, with his medal and prize money as winner of EYP Marathon Challenge 2022

He said as an athlete, venturing into his racing career exposes him to the intrinsic aspect of racing because a marathon is not all about jogging anymore as it is becoming harder which stimulates him to keep up with elite racers while competing and maintaining a healthy way of life to stabilize his physic.

Under the female wing, 7-year-old Hassanat Hassan, records a first-time history of a juvenile emerging winner, while 14-year-old Sofiyyat Muhideen and 16-year-old Mariam Adenekan got second and third place respectively.

Hassan, while commenting on the programme as a kid participant encouraged the organizers to put in more effort in widening the horizon of the competition to give access to more talented racers come next year as she hopes it will serve as a starting point to success for young lads like her.

According to the Chairman of EYP, organisers of the marathon Mr Adeyemi Yusuf: “The marathon is to identify talents amongst youths who have interest in running. And going by the turnout of juveniles for this edition, and the emergence of the 7 year-old as champion of that category we are making progress with the marathon”.

Hassanat Hassan,(in orange) the 7 year-old champion of the Jevenile category of the marathon

“We, however hope to improve on the lapses we have noticed with this edition, and would do all that is necessary to have a better organised event next year”, Yusuf concluded.