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- OPEC Fund sponsors first rookie team from East Africa to compete in Vienna City Marathon
OPEC Fund sponsors first rookie team from East Africa to compete in Vienna City Marathon
April 19, 2022: The Vienna City Marathon returns this weekend and for the first time the event will feature a partner-sponsored rookie team formed of runners from developing countries. Backed by the Vienna-based OPEC Fund for International Development, two female runners from Ethiopia and two male runners from Kenya will compete in the high-profile event. It will be their first start at a World Athletics Label event, a top certification of standards from competitive running’s governing body.
The female runners are Fanose Tessema Gonfa, age 21, and Chaltu Fikadu Marame, age 20. Their manager Obrad Todorović said: “I would like to underline how much we appreciate this great opportunity, which has been provided to our athletes thanks to the generous support of the OPEC Fund.”
The two male competitors in the rookie team are Dickson Kiptoo, age 30, and Victor Serem, age 35. While both have competed in marathon races before, the competition in Vienna will be an opportunity to present their talents at the highest level and in front of an international audience. Mr. Kiptoo’s manager Hannah Biwott-van de Veen holds high expectations for the athlete: “He is doing very well in training.”
The rookie team program is an innovative new sponsorship model from the OPEC Fund and the Vienna City Marathon organizers. It provides aspiring runners from developing countries with the chance to get a big break in their budding careers at an international event that normally attracts up to 100,000 spectators and global media coverage.
OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “We are happy and proud to once again lend our support to the Vienna City Marathon and express our deep attachment to our host city Vienna. We hope that this model of sponsoring talented runners from developing countries will find many followers and allow us to jointly celebrate the sporting aspirations of people around the world.”
While the rookie team is a first for the Vienna City Marathon and the OPEC Fund, their relationship extends many years. This year’s marks the 12th time that the OPEC Fund has sponsored the race, which has become Vienna’s largest sporting event and a fixture on the international runners’ calendar.
Dominik Konrad, CEO, Vienna City Marathon, added: "The new rookie team initiative demonstrates the deep cooperation between the OPEC Fund and the Vienna City Marathon organisers. Nurturing talent and creating opportunities for runners to progress their careers are important dimensions in sport. The Vienna City Marathon is known for being a springboard for aspiring runners. We are very pleased to be able to strengthen this role together with the OPEC Fund.“
About the OPEC Fund
The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively. The organization works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The OPEC Fund was established by the member countries of OPEC in 1976 with a distinct purpose: to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people. Our work is people-centered, focusing on financing projects that meet essential needs, such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education. To date, the OPEC Fund has committed more than US$22 billion to development projects in over 125 countries with an estimated total project cost of US$187 billion. The OPEC Fund is rated AA+/Outlook Stable by Fitch and AA/Positive Outlook by S&P in 2021. Our vision is a world where sustainable development is a reality for all.