Koogo Atia attributes FNB Accra Marathon success to intensive preparation
The male winner of the 2023 First National Bank (FNB) Accra Marathon, Koogo Atia, has attributed his success to the intensive training he underwent in the build-up to the event which took place on Saturday, November 11, 2023.
Atia, who is currently a National Service Person at the Walewale Senior High School, clocked a time of 2:03:25 hours to emerge winner of the coveted competition which started at 6 a.m. from the Regional Maritime University at Nungua through some demarcated streets in Accra to the Dansoman Keep Fit Club.
The 24-year-old athlete, who also participated in the recently held Millennium Marathon and finished third, said he was keen to make amends for losing the first position in the aforementioned race hence he trained vigorously to ensure his triumph last Saturday.
He took the lead right after the blast of the whistle from the Maritime University and further widened the gap about 300 metres to Dansoman, a performance which attracted loud cheers and applause from the teeming spectators who lined up the streets to catch a glimpse of the runners.
“I did a lot of training, including hill climbing and stamina assessment. This year I participated in the Millennium Marathon where I was third so I wanted to do better in this competition,” he told the Graphic Sports during an interview.
“I knew I was going to win because I trained so hard for it. I trained so hard when I heard about this marathon. This is an economisation of your pace so you need to train for it. This win means a lot to me and I thank God for it,” he added.
For his reward, Atia took home GH₵20,000 as cash prize, laptops and souvenirs from sponsors as well as certificate of participation. He was also rewarded with a fully paid trip to participate in an upcoming international marathon later next year.
About 1,000 runners from across the country participated in the 42.2 km race for professional athletes and 10 km for school children.
In the female category, 18-year-old Portia Anaba from the T. I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School in Kumasi finished first in a time of 3:16:13 to take home GH₵20,000 as cash prize, laptops and several products from sponsors.
Like Koogo, Anaba participated in the last Millennium Marathon where she placed seventh.
“I am so excited to win this competition because I have never run 42 km before. The farthest I have run is 21km so I am so happy that I won at my first attempt,” she said.
Sheriffa Moro and Joyce Ayaba were second and third in that order, in the female category while Noah Wunboriche and Ishmael Fianoo took the second and third positions respectively in the male 42.2 km race. They also received cash prizes, laptops, certificates of participation as well as souvenirs from the sponsors.
The 10km race for school children which started from Korle Bu Polyclinic and ended at the Dansoman Keep Fit Club saw Blessing Obuor win the girls event while Prosper Nensom won the boys category.
For their efforts, they each received GH₵5000 as cash prize, seven computers each for their schools, several products from sponsors and certificates of participation.
Esther Yakubu and Gladys Ansah were first and second runners-up in the girls’ event while Rasheed Baffoe and Osei Jamu won the first and second runners-up in the boys’ event. They all received cash prizes, laptops and products from the sponsors as rewards.
At the closing ceremony, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Yusif, hinted at plans to make the marathon a national event.
He said the marathon was a testament to the spirit of endurance and unity in our communities; hence, making it a nationwide event would help to unearth more talents, as well as grow the sport.
“This event is about enthusiasm and discipline. Your determination shows the power of sports to bring our people together. The ministry will collaborate with the Dansoman Keep Fit Club to make this event a national event,” he said.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the First National Bank, Warren Adams, said his outfit was glad to associate with the marathon because of the objectives it projected.
“For us at FNB, it was not a difficult decision to become a part of this event. The event talks about community, enthusiasm and discipline and that is what we stand for so we are thankful to the Dansoman Keep Fit Club for approaching us,” he said.
Mr Adams expressed appreciation to the Ghana Athletics Association, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Police, Red Cross Society, the media and other sponsors for their support which ensured the successful organisation of the marathon.
The President of the Dansoman Keep Fit Club, Benjamin Ahulu, said his outfit resolved to revive the prestigious mass sport after a six-year hiatus considering the significance of the event to the Dansoman community and the nation at large.
“We are, therefore, delighted to sign a contract with the First National Bank to revive the marathon and we are grateful to the bank for coming to the rescue of the event,” he said.
The marathon was supported by Hollard Insurance, Bel-Aqua, Yango and Dano Milk with the Graphic Communications Group Ltd and the Multimedia Group being media partners.
The marathon was organised by the Dansoman Keep Fit Club with sponsorship from the First National Bank. It was supported by Hollard Insurance, Bel-Aqua, Yango and Dano Milk, with the Graphic Communications Group Ltd and the Multimedia Group as media partners.