18th November, 2012
A two-time winner, Abebe Dinkesa of Ethiopia has again won the 2012 edition of the Obudu International Mountain race in the male category.
His compatriot, Etenesh Dironeda, also won the female category of the African Nations Mountain Running Championship.
Both of them went home with 50,000 dollars cash each and trophies.
The 8th edition of the race ended on Saturday in the Ranch Mountain Resort.
Dinkesa who breasted the tape in 1.00.58 seconds had won the race in 2008 and 2010 while Dironeda returned with a record time of 1.00.03 seconds to win in Obudu for the first time.
Macdonard Ondara from Kenya came second while Robert Chemosine also from Kenya took the third position with a time of 1.02.00 and 1.03.00 seconds in the male event.
In the female category, the 2007 winner Rita Jepto from Kenya came second clocking 1.02.45 seconds while Kipoech Paskalia from Kenya emerged third with 1.04.02 seconds.
In the Nigerian category, runners from Plateau swept the first three and first two positions in the male and female categories, respectively.
Emmanuel Gyang from Pankshin took the first position, Gideon Goyep and Danjuma Gyang from Vom took second and third positions, respectively.
In the female race, Deborah Pam came first for Nigeria and 8th in the African championship, Janet Dung and 13-year-old Jacinta Machu from the Ranch community came second and third among the Nigerian athletes and 9th and 10th in the African championship, respectively.
Commenting on the outcome of the race, Dinkesa who was full of excitement told NAN that unlike last year when he came distant 11th he was delighted that he came tops in the 2012 edition of the race..
“I prepared very well for this race and I am happy I won. The new course is very tough and it is amazing,’’ he said.
Dinkesa, who wedded this year in Addis Ababa, said he was dedicating the victory to his wife and promised to come back stronger in the 2013 edition of the championship.
“Winning the race and conquering the mountain was not easy because the course is rugged and hilly, but I will come back next year. I am not afraid of any challenger,’’ he said.
Commenting on the 8th edition of the Obudu Mountain race, the Cross River State Deputy Governor, Mr Efiok Cobham, said he was impressed with the organisation and the performance of the Nigerian athletes.
He noted that the athletes were taking the race more seriously, adding that the state’s sports comprehensive programme was yielding meaningful results.
He expressed the hope that the athletes would do better next year and that in 2014 Nigeria would be among the first five or even win the race.
Cobham said the championship faced challenges of infrastructure, adding that there was need for the government to put more structure on ground to take care of accommodation problems.
The deputy governor also said that he was thrilled by the performance of the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Ian Mconville, who also took part in the race.
On his part, Ian Mconville commended the organisers of the race and assured of his country’s resolve to collaborate with Nigeria in sports development.
The high commissioner said that he was happy to hit the 12.3 kilometre race with “some wonderful world class in the athletes.’’
He added that though it was the first time he participated in the Obudu race, he would participate in subsequent editions.
He said that there were possibilities for collaboration in areas of sports between Nigeria and Australia.
“Absolutely, we work very closely with Nigeria. Nigeria and Australia, of course, are sporting nations and we work closely in a number of areas.
“ So, I think sporting collaboration is a very good area for us to work together and we will encourage that.
“And my message will be I hope Australians can come across and enjoy this beautiful country,’’ he said.