The fifth Bank of Africa (BOA) Bamako International Marathon saw Ghana’s three-man team give a good account of itself, with ace runner Raja Lagble taking the silver medal behind Kenya’s Muturi Karanga.
Another Kenyan, Daniel Kamei took the bronze, while Ghana’s other runners, Akakiya Atampure and William Akuka placed 8th and 27th respectively.
This was contained in a press release from BOA and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday.
It said the nation’s three-man team Raja Lagble, Akakiya Atampure and William Akuka took part in the event through the kind sponsorship of the Bank of Africa, Ghana.
The event, a traditional marathon of 42.195km, featured more than 2000 runners and 11 other African countries and was organized under the theme, “Solidarity with Mali,” in view of the months-long conflict in the northern part of the country, involving armed Islamist groups.
The release said runners in the race were drawn from countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Tanzania.
Regarded as one of the toughest marathon races in Africa because of the rather warm and dry conditions under which it is held, this year’s BOA International Marathon was run at a much quicker pace than last year’s race.
The first three runners in this year’s race all posted faster times than last year’s winner. Kuturi Karanga (2hrs: 27 minutes, 6 seconds), Raja Lagble’s (2hrs: 29 minutes, 1 seconds), and Daniel Kimei’s (2hrs: 29 minutes, 56 seconds) were all much faster than the 2hrs 33 minutes 29 seconds set by Niger’s Kabirou Dan-Mallam in last year’s event. In fact, last year’s winner’s time would have placed a lowly 6th position this year.
The bank’s sponsorship which was over GH¢20, 000.00 covered the flight tickets, four-day 3-star lodging as well as per diem for the three athletes, Semiu Ayinde Atambala, a coach and Kennedy Boakye-Ansah, a Journalist.
Mr Kofi Fumey, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication at BOA, said their outfit will continue to support the sport and as a Bank rooted in Mali we are doing this to show our solidarity with the people of Mali.
Mr Fumey said the Bank of Africa is committed to unearthing and developing untapped talents in athletics, particularly long distance runners across the Continent of Africa.
It said Ghana’s team to the Mali event was selected by the Runathon Ghana Foundation, based on athletes’ performances in its inaugural 50km Race for Peace Ultra Marathon, held in December 2012.
The Runathon Ghana Foundation is a non-governmental, not-for-profit sports development organization established by Eric Adae, a former elite long distance runner in Ghana.
This is the second time the Bank of Africa - Ghana is sponsoring Ghanaian athletes to the BOA International Marathon. Last year’s sponsorship saw Godwin Adukpo and Kassim Mohammed placing 3rd and 5th respectively.