By Stephen Njumbe Sako
The 2012 edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope took place on Saturday, February 18, 2012 in the Southwest Regional headquarter of Buea. Athletes from the Northwest Region of Cameroon recorded significant victories occupying top positions. The take-off at 7 a.m. at the Buea Municipal Stadium was presided over by Mr Adoum Garoua, Cameroon’s Minister of Sports and Physical Education. Also present was a host of dignitaries and senior government officials. The theme for this year’s race was "Unity in Hope." About 572 athletes took part in the race with 22 foreigners representing 6 countries amongst which were Nigeria (11), Equatorial Guinea (1), Switzerland (1), France (2), Great Britain and U.S.A (6).
The senior men's category was won by Cabsibwin Godlove from the Northwest Region who did it 4 hours, 2 minutes and 22 seconds. In second position was Simplice Ndongeh from the Southwest Region and Tiku Divine from the Northwest region in third position. The Second and third athletes clocked 4h9'33 seconds and 4h10'39 seconds, respectively.
In the female category, Gwanya Yvonne from the Northwest finished first in 4h59'08 seconds. She thus wins the race for the fourth time in consecutive wins between 2009 and 2012. In second and third positions were Boyo Confidence and Ngalim Lizette all from the Northwest region, who crossed the finish line in 5h10'25 seconds and 5h12'42 seconds, respectively.
The first position had a cash prize of 3 million FCFA (US$ 6000), while the second and third positions had 2 million and 1 million FCFA both in the men and women's category.
In an official ceremony to launch the games on Friday, February 17, 2012 in Buea, Sports and Physical Education Minister Adoum Garoua expressed gratitude to all the athletes and other stakeholders who came from far and near to make the event popular.
According to Mr Adoum Garoua, "this event is especially important because it falls in line with the Head of State's major accomplishment policies, being those of effort, courage, endurance, determination, hope, success, and the expression of good will by Cameroonians in the struggle against poverty".
The Minister highlighted that the Race of Hope provides a great opportunity for the Southwest Region to showcase its potentials to the world. He said below the strength of the competition lies a strong tool for national unity and social consolidation.
Meanwhile, Jacques Sebastien Mbous, President of the Cameroon Athletics Federation said the 17th edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope is very special, owing to the fact that apart from the institutional supervision, the Head of State will preside at the 50th Anniversary of Cameroon's Reunification in Buea.
Jacques Sebastien affirmed strongly that the Race of Hope is unique in the world because it is a source of pride to Cameroonians and will certainly mark the kick-off of the Head of State's Major Accomplishment Programmes in the area of sports, by promoting unity, brotherhood, endurance, self motivation and love for hard work amongst others.
At the close of the race, and before leaving Buea for Yaounde, a foundation stone to build a house for the 'Queen of the Race' Sarah Liengu Etonge as promised by the government was laid by Minister Adoum Garoua near her Buea Town residence.
The Race of Hope is standing the test of time as much still needs to be done to bring the race back to its early glories.
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