As part of his long term plans to develop long distance races in Nigeria to world-class standards, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, says the first National Cross Country Championship organised by the ministry will hold February 18 in Jos, Plateau State.
The championship is a 10km event and will be held at the Rhino Golf Course in Jos.
The event, according to the minister, is to enable the athletes develop their strenght and make them better runners.
“Cross country running, experts tell us, is excellent for developing strenghth. We have enormous potential to rival the East Africans and win laurels for the country at continental and international championships.
“More importantly, we want to positively engage the mass of distance runners in this country and make them earn a good living from running around the world like their East and North African counterparts,” Dare said.
Project coordinator, Tony Osheku, said Dare would be remembered as the first sports minister in over four decades who took interest in long distance runners.
“I was a strong part of the team the minister assembled last year to map out plans on how to develop long distance running in Nigeria and I remember we had a camp for a few weeks in Jos for some of our elite distance runners,” Osheku, a former national 1500m champion, said.
“I cannot remember any minister who has shown the kind of interest and enthusiasm Dare has shown and his knowledge of the sport. It is amazing.”