Dinkesa returns to defend African mountain running title

Dinkesa returns to defend African mountain running title

Provided by IAAF

The Obudu International Mountain Race takes place on Monday 28 November. The African Mountain Running championships will also feature at this IAAF, AAC and WMRA sanctioned event in Nigeria. Once again this event promises to be an exciting one as many of the African runners expected have succeeded at the World championships.

There are six national teams registered in the men’s event - Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Egypt - and three in the women’s team championship race - Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria - plus athletes from other African countries.

Abebe Dinkesa from Ethiopia returns to defend his title from 2010 but Ondara MacDonald from Kenya is expected to feature highly having placed sixth in 2010. With European Champion Ahmed Arslan of Turkey also in the field the event should be an outstanding spectacle of mountain running.

The women’s event sees Nigeria’s top female runner for the last two years, Janet Dung, returning to challenge for the event she won in 2009. Genet Yalew from Ethiopia may well prove to be the strongest challenger having taken third place in 2010.

According to the Secretary General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Mrs. Maria Worphil, more African nations are making inquiries about travel and accommodation arrangements and she expects more confirmations this week.

"Athletics Nigeria is delighted with the response shown by African nations for this championship,” said Worphil, a former national handball star.

"Last year we had six nations in the men’s event and five in the women’s including the host nation, Nigeria, and we are already convinced we will have more African nations this time around as we strive to make mountain running a perennial fixture in the calendar of the African Athletics Confederation."

Ethiopia, winner of the inaugural edition of the championship tops the list of other nations who have made inquiries about the championships and Worphil is full of praise for Cross River Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, for providing the platform to host the rest of Africa.

"Our sincere thanks to Governor Imoke for not only continuing with the sponsorship of the Obudu international mountain race started by his predecessor, Donald Duke, but for also expanding the scope of the event by including the African Nations mountain running championship. The AFN will continue to organize a perfect competition and make Nigeria proud," Worphil added.

The WMRA are working with the LOC, NAF and AAC in preparation of a potential candidature for World Championships in 2014. The LOC are waiting for the presence of AAC President, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, and of NAF President, Chief Solomon Ogba.

WMRA President Bruno Gozzelino and WMRA Council member Erhan Basoglu will be present to witness further developments in mountain running.

Bashir Hussain for the IAAF