East Africans continued with their dominance of the 8th edition of the Obudu Mountain Race as two Ethiopians, Abebe Dinkesa and Etenesh Dironeda won the male and female categories respectively.
Dinkesa, 2008 and 2010 champion of the race, made it to the finish line in 1.00.58 hours while Dironeda breast the tape in 1.03.00 hours. Both winners each went home with $50,000.
Dinkesa is now three time champion of the race while Dironeda won it for the first time even as no champion has successfully defended his or her title since 2005 that the race was introduced. Under the male category, Macdonarad Ondara of Kenya placed second in 1.02 hours while Robert Chemosine also from Kenya took the third position in 1.03.00 hours.
Rita Jepto his compatriot took the third in the female event in 1.02.45 hours while another Kenyan Kipoech Paskalia emerged third in 1.04.02 hours. Both races took place on rough course unlike the previous editions that were ran on asphalt road.
In the Nigerian category, Plateau State contingent took the first three and first two positions in the male and female category respectively. Emmanuel Gyang from Pankshin took first in 1.11 hours, Gideon Goyep 1.12 hours and Danjuma Gyang 1.14 hours from Vom took second and third positions while in the female race, Deborah Pam came first for Nigeria and 8th in the African championship in 1.12.49 hours, Janet Dung 1.13.15 hours and 13-year-old Jacinta Machu 1.15.15 hours from the Ranch community emerged second and third in Nigeria and 9th and 10th in the world.
In an interview, Dinkesa, the obviously elated champion, said unlike last year when he placed a distant 11th: "I prepared very well for this race and I am happy I won. The new course is very tough and it is amazing."
Exuding confidence, Dinkesa, who got married this year, said he was dedicating the victory to his wife with a promise to do better in the 2013 edition of the championship adding, "winning the race and conquering the mountain was not easy because the course is rugged and hilly, but I will come back next year and I am not afraid of any challenger."
In his speech, the Cross River State Deputy Governor Mr. Efiok Cobham said he was quite impressed with the entire organization and the performance of Nigerian athletes an indication that they were taking the race more seriously and the state's sports comprehensive programme paying off.
"By next year we will do better and in 2014 Nigeria will under the first five or even winning the race," he said.