25th November, 2010
Defending champions of the annual Obudu Mountain Race International Championship, Habtamu Fikadu Awash (men) and Mamitu Daska (women), both from Ethiopia are battle ready for the 6th edition of the tournament, which holds on Saturday at the Obudu Ranch, Cross River, Nigeria.
Other stars, who have been in the country on Tuesday ahead of the championship and are equally getting set for the competition, are Austriaâ€™s Andrea Mayr, 2006 womenâ€™s winner, Rehima Kedir of Ethiopia and Abebe Dinkesa, also of Ethiopia who set a new 41:45 minutes course record to win the menâ€™s title in 2008. Others are Roland Ortiz and Maria Eugenia Rodriguez, as well as Israelâ€™s Haim Malka.
Organisers of the tourney says at least a record 76 athletes will compete for honour in the one day competition, where winner will pocket the sum of $50,000 for both men and women.
The race, which covers a distance of 11 kilometres uphill, to an altitude of 1,575 metres above sea, will be attended by 10 countries including Nigeria.
Leading Nigerian athletes scheduled who are battle ready for the tourney are Danjuma Gyang, menâ€™s defending champion and Janet Dung, the womenâ€™s reigning queen. Other athletes are Danjuma Kopkudi, (2005,2006 winner), Emmanuel Gyang, veteran runner, Gideon Hagak and two former champions, Harris Ismail (2007) and Jubre Stephen (2008), who will compete in the menâ€™s event. In the woman race are Nancy Matthew and Genevieve Njoku
The prize monies for best Nigerian finishers (Male/Female) in this yearâ€™s race remain unchanged with the top three finishers going home with $2,000, $1,500 and $1,000 respectively.