Source: THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com

CALABAR, Nov 29, (THEWILL) - Ethiopia has repeated her domination of the Obudu Mountain Race by carting all the Star Prizes of its Sixth Edition as well as the Second African Nations Mountain Running Championship in both the Male and Female categories in the eleven kilometers race.

Abebe Dinkesa (Ethiopia) came first with a time 42.21minutes to cart the $50,000 star prize, his counterpart and last year’s champion came second with a time of 42.47 minutes and got $20,000 while John Sompol Mnangat, a Kenyan came third with a record time of 42.58 minutes and went home with $9,000.

In the female category, Meselech M. Haileyesus, Ethiopian came first with the time of 48.57 minutes winning $50,000, second was Daska Mamitu of Ethiopia recording 49.04 minutes and got $20,000 while Yalewi Kas, also an Ethiopian picked the third position and went home with $9,000.

Uganda came first in the Nations Race men category with 16 points to cart the Star prize of $15,000, Kenya was second with 17 points and got $10,000 and Ethiopia third with 17 points to pick $7,500 while in the female category, Ethiopia came first with six points and won $15,000 and Nigeria second with 30 points and went home with $10,000.

Countries that participated in this year’s edition include Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Cameroon, Israel, India and the host, Nigeria and out of the 138 athletes that took part in the championship 33 were women while 105 were men.

Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State in a post presentation of prizes speech, disclosed that the next edition of the champion will also include running on a bush track in line with international Mountain running standards instead of running on 100% asphalted route, adding that the promise last year to include women category in the African Championship was fulfilled as the race has so much to offer.

Imoke noted that the competition had improved from the previous editions of which he attributed to the efforts and commitment of the organizers and athletes, remarking that the state is beginning to realize its objectives, not only in the race but also drew attention to the Obudu Mountain Resort.

The Governor reasoned that though it is herculean task for a Nigerian to become a World champion in Mountain Race, it is likely that in ten years, a Nigerian will perform the feat because the preparation towards that has commenced. While thanking the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) for their support and cooperation, Imoke wished those who competed but did not win better luck next time.

Imoke disclosed that the tasking performance by the children was acknowledged as those who won would be awarded scholarship to University level as well as be admitted into the Athletic development programme of the state to make them future world champions.

The President of the World Mountain Running Association Mr. Bruno Gozzelino, who was making a second appearance at the championship, commended the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for organizing the best mountain race championship in Africa and looked forward to when the records will improve as well as attract more participants.

The Italian born Gozzelino, who promised to be more involved in the championship lauded the State Government and the LOC for fulfilling its promise by including the women category in the African Nations Championship.

A representative of the MD of Coca-Cola, Mr. Otome Oyo, who said they had been sponsoring the event since 2005, noted that it has grown in participation and scope as they are proud to be part of its success story as well as create value and make the difference while contributing to the tourism programme of the state and also encourage the Obudu community.

Oyo, who commended Imoke for sustaining the programme and the LOC for its expansion, welcomed the foreign participants and advised Nigerians to remain steadfast.

A representative of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Navy Captain Omatseye Nesiama appreciated those that fulfilled promised last year to widen the scope of the event as he was pleased with the commitment of the state government for introducing the women category into the African nations Championship while promising to access African Athletic Associations (AAA) to ensure its full participation as he was ready to put his weight behind the African Championship which will entail conducting the subsequent Obudu Maintain Race, in English and French.

Sir William Archibong, LOC Chairman in a welcome address assured that the event will continue to grow by every edition and commended the athletes for being able to conquer the mountain while commending the sponsors for their contributions.The Best Nigerian Finisher (Male) was Cletus Eyo, who won $2000, Tobe Swet and John Bulus came second and third and went home with $1,500 and $1000 respectively.

In the Female Category, Janet Dung was first and carted $2000 while Binatus Johana and Genevieve Njoku came second and third and got $1,500 and $1000 respectively.

In the Media Race, male category, Odey Aleayor (NTA Calabar) came first and got $2000, Bankole Patneli Silverbird TV) second ($1,500) and Victor Edet (Channels TV) third ($1000) while Fatima Mohammed of Tourism Watch came first ($2000), Stella Bamawo (The Nation) second ($1500) and Glory Okon (Channels, TV) was third ($1000).The Children Race both male and Female were dominated by children from the catchment area who won the first ten positions going home with cash prizes ranging from N5, 000 to N100, 000.

Other activities which were part of the event were a bon-fire night which was sponsored by Coca Cola manufacturer of Eva Water and a Gala night for Athletes, officials and sponsors to round off this year’s edition of the 6th Obudu Mountain Race 2010 and 2nd African Nations Mountain running Championship.