– Despite security threats/explosions, Athletics Federation & Orange Cameroun records successful organization
By Ikome Christie-Noella Eposi in Buea
Amassive crowd made up of Buea denizens and guests from other parts of Cameroon and the world at large took active part at the just ended 28th edition of the 2023 Mount Cameroon Race of Hope which took place in Buea, South West region this Saturday, February 25, 2023. Despite the security threats which loomed on the day of the race proper, the Molyko Omnisport stadium as well as the streets of Buea could be seen flooded with many persons who were present to witness the mega race.
Under the theme ‘Let’s give peace a chance’, the 50th anniversary of the race which was mainly sponsored by Orange Cameroun was presided over by the Minister of Sports and Physical education, Prof. Narcisse Mouelle Kombi accompanied by the governor of the South West region, Bernard Okalia Bilai and other top dignitaries.
At the launch of the race which took place on Friday, February 24, 2023, the Mayor of Buea in his welcome address called on all to contribute to nation building. “The importance of sporting activities in general and athletics in particular to our health as individuals and a social cohesion factor should not be overemphasized. Sporting jamborees like this we are witnessing today serves as a medium for the interaction and cultural exchange to the people of diverse cultural background for the exchange of experience and helps to promote mutual understanding as well as strengthens sentiments of solidarity amongst the population” he noted.
It is important to note that prior to the 2023 Mount Cameroon Race of Hope, the Governor of the South West Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, the President of the Cameroon Athletics Federation, Motombi Mbome Emmanuel and other stakeholders held series of security meetings to strategize and put in place security measures in the region.
At the end of the race, the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Prof. Narcisse Mouelle Kombi could be heard in a press interview congratulating the Governor of the South West Region and his team for a job well done. “The 28th edition of the 2023 Mount Cameroon Race of Hope was a huge success. I have seen a demonstration of togetherness and unity in diversity. I equally want to congratulate all the athletes for the efforts put in to ensure that the race was a success. All is well that ends well” he said.
The Project Management Officer at the Marketing and Communication Department at Orange Cameroun, Gisela Musi Lum talking to the press at the close of activities revealed that the event has been a huge success. “For a month now we started proximity animations and the sensitization about the race. We wanted people to come out and they came out. Orange Cameroun is really impressed. The population of Buea has been and is still very accommodating and the federation has been very cooperative. We had little hitches but there is room for amelioration and we are going to work better next year”.
The President of the Cameroon Athletics Federation, Emmanuel Motombi Mbome said the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope is a great opportunity that gives pride to Cameroonians. “The race we are celebrating today is one of endurance. The success of this year’s edition has been guaranteed by the assistance of our valuable sponsors especially our main sponsor Orange Cameroun for giving this edition the grandeur it deserves”.
“If we are succeeding today it is because the governor who is chairperson of the local organizing committee did a good job to prepare the terrain for the athletes and national organizing committee to come and just do finishing touches and we appreciate him for that. The media has equally been a veritable partner to the athletics federation. We are all victorious” he explained.
Emerging overall winner in the male category was Adamu Issa Buba shirt number 110 who used (4hrs 39min) followed by Amadou Abdou as second (4hrs 4mins) and Elvis Tah as 3rd(4hrs 46min). In the female category, Tatah Carine was overall winner (5hrs 18min), preceded by Kitan Mildred Ntumeka (5hrs 22min) and Njeyang Sydony Bonwi as 3rd.
Adamu Issa Buba and Tatah Carine overall winner in the male and female categories expressed satisfaction and thanked God for their victory. “On my own I could not do it. Along the way, one of the ladies overtook me but I trusted in God and believed that I was still going to make it and I made it” FCFA 10 Million, FCFA 7 Million and FCFA 5 Million cfa was the cash prize awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners respectively in both male and female categories.
Talking to some onlookers at the close of the games, many were pleased with the excellent organization by Orange Cameroun and the brilliant performance from the athletes “From all indications the athletes prepared well for this race and that is why success on their path was inevitable. The winners rightfully deserve their positions”. One of the onlookers exclaimed.
It is important to state that asides from the beautiful concepts brought in by Orange Cameroon such as the Miss Mt Cmr race of hope 2023, the award of cash prizes to winners of games (millionaire), the event was also characterized by colourful displays of traditional dances, dance competitions, guest artist performances amongst others.