By Ben Efe
European participation in the Obudu Mountain race was limited to one appearance at the 2010 edition, which Ethiopians Abebe Dinkesa and Meselech Haileyesus won and smiled home with the 50, 000 dollar top prize in the men and women category.
The absence of European runners was clearly noticeable and the president of the World
Mountain Race Association Bruno Gozzelino, declared that the European runners are shying away from the race because Africans continue to win.
“The European athletes are not here in numbers, because they have little chance of winning. Africans are dominating and so it is not very attractive for the European runners,” said Mr. Gozzelino.
At the inaugural race in 2005, Ben Dubios of Australia and Czech Republic’s Anna Pichrtová won. But last Saturday it was only one athlete Haim Malka from Israel that was present.
That notwithstanding, the Italian said that the 2010 race was highly competitive and the organisation was perfect.
Gozzelino was surprised that the culture of mountain race running in Nigeria was not pronounced despite the availability of resources and talent.
“The Athletics Federation of Nigeria should consider running a national championship. This will bring awareness and lead to the discovery of talents.”