A total of 100, 000 athletes from 27 countries including Nigeria will be participating in the second edition of Access Bank Lagos Marathon billed to hold from 7am to 2pm on February 11, 2017.64 elite athletes from 26 countries and 102 from Nigeria, as well as 30 special athletes will also be participating in the marathon scheduled to start from National Stadium in Surulere and terminate at Eko Atlantic City in Victoria Island.Addressing a world press conference on Friday at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said adequate preparations have been put in place to ensure a successful event, assuring that the marathon had been designed to be bigger and better than the previous edition. Governor Ambode, who addressed the briefing alongside President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Mr Solomon Ogba; Acting President of International Association of Ultra runners, Mr Nadeem Khan; representatives of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and representatives of the sponsors of the event, said all the agencies of government participating in the event have been adequately mobilized, saying that Lagosians should expect the best.Speaking on the idea behind investing in the marathon, Governor Ambode, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Sports and Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr Deji Tinubu, said the event was meant to showcase the excellence of Lagos to the world as well as encourage sporting activities among the people.He said: “We want to show the world that Lagos can be and Lagos can do what it is expected of it as a mega city; we want to show to the world the tourism potentials of Lagos; we want to show to the world that Lagos is safe; we want to show to the world that Lagos can be the choice destination for sports, tourism and entertainment and that is why we are doing this.”While appreciating all the sponsors that partnered with the State Government, Governor Ambode said it was gratifying to note that many of the participating athletes have picked up their running kits, while top notch security and logistics arrangement have been put in place. He also said that the Sole Administrators of the Local Government Areas of the routes of the marathon have also been adequately mobilized, while arrangement for entertainment and fun packs have also been perfected for those not participating in the marathon.In his remarks, AFN President, Ogba said as the biggest commercial city and very important city in Africa, the Lagos Marathon was designed to be among the top ten marathons in the world, saying that he was indeed happy with the commitment of the present administration in the State led by Governor Ambode towards the marathon.He said it was a common knowledge that over 10,000 people travel to Lagos per day with no intention of going back and with a lot of attendant pressure on public infrastructure, adding that it was good thing that the government considered the event. Also, Head of Organizing Committee of the Marathon and Executive Director of Access Bank, Mr. Victor Otoko recalled the success of the last year edition, saying that necessary preparation has been perfected to make this year’s edition hugely successful.He said provisions have been made for a total of 29 water stations along the marathon routes with adequate security to ensure that only the marathoners get access it, while all the special athletes participating in the marathon would be given appearance fees. Explaining how the Marathon came into being, Project Consultant, Mr Bukola Olopade said Governor Ambode deserved to be commended for his sportsmanship that made it easy for the maiden event to be possible having given approval after presentation on the event.“Let me specially thank Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for understanding the context of hosting the event just within two minutes of discussing why Lagos, considered to be the hub of business activities in Nigeria and 5th largest economy in Africa should host the marathon,” Olopade said.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
FILE PHOTO: Premier League leaders LiverpoolLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | Manchester City have the chance to exert some short-term pressure on runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool this weekend as Manchester United look to end their away day blues.Jurgen Klopp’s side saw their long winning streak ended by a hungry United in a draw at Old Trafford last week but still have a comfortable six-point lead over second-placed City.Guardiola’s defending champions can cut that gap to just three points, at least temporarily, if they beat Aston Villa at home on Saturday, while Liverpool have a trickier-looking tie against Spurs the following day.Frank Lampard’s young Chelsea side travel to Burnley on the back of a six-match winning run in all competitions while third-placed Leicester visit Southampton on Friday.Manchester United will be desperate to put more distance between themselves and the relegation zone but travel to Norwich without an away win in the Premier League since February.AFP Sport picks out some of the talking points ahead of the weekend’s matches.Fortress AnfieldLiverpool go into their home match against Tottenham after falling one game short of matching Manchester City’s record 18-match winning run in the Premier League.The European champions, on a 44-match unbeaten run at home in the league, have forgotten how to lose at Anfield but will be facing a Spurs team buoyed by a 5-0 victory at home to Red Star Belgrade in midweek.Erik Lamela, who scored against Red Star on his 200th appearance for Spurs, said the size of the victory had given the struggling team an injection of confidence.“Our confidence is better after winning the game 5-0,” said the Argentine. “We need to take this game, keep going, try to get better and better and now focus on Liverpool.”Spurs are seeking revenge for defeat in last season’s Champions League final, but the odds are stacked against them.Tottenham have won just once in 15 matches against Liverpool and have not won away in the Premier League since January.Sterling soarsPep Guardiola urged his team to be more clinical after their 2-0 victory last week against Crystal Palace and his team responded by thumping Atalanta 5-1 in the Champions League.Despite Guardiola’s exhortations, City have not been shy in front of goal this season, hitting 29 in just nine Premier League matches.Their top-scorer in all competitions is Raheem Sterling, whose hat-trick in midweek led to gushing praise from his boss, who called him an “extraordinary player”. Sterling has 16 goals already this season for club and country — already more than half of his tally of 31 during the previous campaign.Despite his comments about his attackers, Guardiola’s more pressing concern will be sorting out his defence, which has looked vulnerable this season in the absence of Aymeric Laporte.Rodri’s hamstring injury against Atalanta has restricted the manager’s defensive options even further but John Stones will be hoping to put a frustrating spell behind him and re-establish himself in the starting XI.United’s away-day woeManchester United came within minutes of beating Liverpool at Old Trafford last week but Sunday’s visit to Norwich will likely be a truer test of the team’s current form.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, just two points above the relegation zone, have not won away in the league since the Norwegian was appointed as the permanent boss.The match at Carrow Road will be the second of four successive away games in all competitions.United did at least secure their first win on the road since March at Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday.“It’s an issue that we have to deal with and sort out as soon as possible,” said Solskjaer on his side’s away form.Fixtures (1500 GMT unless stated)FridaySouthampton v Leicester (1900)SaturdayManchester City v Aston Villa (1130), Brighton v Everton, Watford v Bournemouth, West Ham v Sheffield United, Burnley v Chelsea (1630)SundayNewcastle v Wolves (1400), Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Liverpool v Tottenham, Norwich v Manchester United (all 1630)Share on: WhatsApp
Facebook21Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Sitara Nath“And what makes this country great for me, as an immigrant and now, a United States citizen, is really that America is a place I can finally call home,” said Meenu Nath, a local Olympia constituent and one of the 12 community members who lobbied Congressmen Denny Heck’s Lacey office for compassionate immigration reform on Thursday, May 18. The combination of leaders, local activists and faith-based organizations came together to ask Representative Heck to cosponsor the BRIDGE Act, a bipartisan bill which will protect young, undocumented immigrants if their protected status is revoked.Along with Charo Portaro, CIELO’s Director of Educational Programs, a team from the Strengthening Sanctuary Faith Network, and local activists, Representative Heck’s conference room was entirely filled by the Olympia advocacy network. Photo courtesy: Sitara NathThe visit was organized by Sitara Nath, a local community organizer who takes part in the Advocacy Corps Intern Program with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a DC – based Quaker lobbyist group in the public interest. Last year, after attending a conference in Washington D.C. just days after the presidential election, Nath’s interest in compassionate immigration reform grew stronger as anti-immigrant rhetoric continued emanating from the White House. Now back in Olympia, Nath has teamed up with the Strengthening Sanctuary Faith Network, a local coalition of faith activists who seek to support immigrant communities in the area. Dallas Roberts, the congressman’s district representative, met with the constituents and reiterated the power of stories in immigration advocacy.“What we really need is people like all of you out there and sharing these stories with other members of Congress as well – it would really support the Representative if other Washington leaders were united on this issue,” said Roberts, who also noted that the Representative is supportive of the BRIDGE Act but, due to the bipartisan nature of the bill, needs a Republican congressional member to sign on alongside him.At the visit, the constituents discussed their personal stories in relation to the BRIDGE Act in an effort to bring politics back to personal roots. Beth Halpern, a member of Strengthening Sanctuary and an ally through the Temple Beth Hatfiloh, shared a moving story of a young woman she is acquainted with who has excelled in her education but is restricted from further pursuing her dreams due to her undocumented status.Charo Portaro, the Director of Educational Programs at CIELO (Central Integral Educativo de Olympia) also joined the visit to discuss how the Congressman’s legislative decisions impact the immigrant communities she works with.“We are working to change lives through education,” said Portaro of the programs which CIELO offers, including English classes, GED preparation courses and sewing classes, to build support for immigrant families in Olympia. Portaro concluded firmly that, “This is an issue which comes down to our basic humanity and that’s why I am here – that’s why we want the Representative to support this issue.”You can learn more about CIELO and their volunteer-based programs by visiting the CIELO website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find information regarding the Strengthening Sanctuary Faith Network, which provides ‘Know Your Rights’ training and Family Safety Planning, through the local Interfaith Works newsletter. To contact Sitara Nath about local lobbying opportunities for compassionate immigration reform, you can email her at email@example.com.