President of the World Mountain Running Association,Bruno Gozzelino says his association would be glad to grant the Obudu international mountain race a grand prix status as early as next year if the local organising committee for the race makes a request.
Gozzelino is convinced the race has met all the conditions necessary for it to be included in the WMRA grand prix series and wants the William Archibong_led LOC to make a request on time so that it would be included in the WMRA calendar as a grand prix race.
The WMRA boss also revealed his big dream for the Obudu race which has placed Nigeria as one of the tourist_friendly
countries in the world contrary to reports in the international media that Nigeria is a dangerous country to come into.
Gozzelino says his biggest joy would be to have IAAF president,Lamine Diack present at the Obudu Ranch Resort in 2012 where he hopes the 27th WMRA World Championships will be held.
Gozzelino has never hidden his admiration for the wonderful work the local organising committee for the annual Obudu international mountain race has done in making the event one of the most anticipated events in the calendar of the WMRA and enjoins Cross River state sports loving Governor,Liyel Imoke to make a bid for the WMRA world championships.
He however warned that for that dream to become real,preparations for it must start in earnest.
‘I believe Nigeria is ripe to host the WMRA world championships.The organisers of the race have also shown a mastery of the sport and only a few logistics in terms of travel and the terrain would only be improved upon.
‘I strongly believe that the Obudu Ranch Resort has a good chance of staging the biggest competition in our calendar,the world mountain running championships’,began the Italian who took over the association after the demise of Danny Hughes.
‘In my opinion only two areas needed to be adjusted for the competition to come to Nigeria and they are the travel
arrangements for participants and the terrain of the Ranch.In terms of travel,I think the Local Organising Committee for the international mountain race has been doing a perfect job.
What the WMRA will only require is a guarantee and days for accommodation increased to at least five days.And these he believes Senator Imoke can guarantee.
‘The Governor has demonstrated that he is not only a sports lover but also one who believes in the development of the youthof his state.
The race has been a good advertisement for the tourism potentials of the state’,he further added.
The Obudu Mountain Race covers a distance of 11 kilometres uphill, to an altitude of 1,575 metres above sea level, taking you to one of the finest destinations in the world, the Obudu Mountain Resort.
The Race is the highest paying Mountain Race in the world, with star prize of $50,000 for both men and women. The star prize for the African Nation’s Mountain RunningChampionship is $15,000 for both men and women teams.