By Ben Efe
As the IAAF world half marathon championship runs its course today in Kavarna, Bulgaria with 245, 000 dollars prize money up for grabs, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN officials are having sober reflections on the death of the Lagos international half marathon.
The Lagos international half marathon was gathering momentum to becoming a top destination for world elite marathon runners, but just when the stakes were high, the sponsors Globacom left the AFN in the lurch and now officials of the Federation are being haunted by their decision to dump MTN, a rival mobile telecoms company, that took up the sponsorship in 2002 and kept it going for five consecutive years. Globcom took over in 2007, and after two editions, negotiations for a new sponsorship deal have been permanently stalled.
“The AFN is haunted by their decision to sign a contract with Glo. The Lagos half marathon was a good property and it gained world recognition, but because the AFN was carried away by promises of a better offer, the officials decided to terminate their association with MTN,” an industry source disclosed.
It was gathered that AFN officials made reconciliatory overtures to MTN recently, but the company was not favorably disposed to reopening negotiations with the AFN. They felt like, they were stabbed in the back.
The last edition of the Lagos international half marathon was held in 2009 with world elite runners like Lornah Kiplagat, Hilda Kibet starring in the women’s category, while in the men’s event, athletes Luke Kibet, Tsegaye Kedebe and Dieudonne Disi were in attendance. Ethiopia’s legend Halie Gebrselassie was a guest.