Sports Ministry To Organise National Cross Country Championships In Jos
As part of his long-term plans to develop long-distance running in Nigeria to a world-class standard, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare says the first National Cross Country championships to be organised by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development will hold on February 18 in Jos, the capital of Plateau State.
The championship, according to the Sports Minister becomes necessary to enable the athletes to develop their strength and make them better runners.
“Cross-country running, experts tell us is excellent for developing strength,” says Dare who began the move to develop distance running in Nigeria last year.
“We have enormous potential to rival the east Africans and win laurels for the country at continental and international championships and games. 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.”
Project coordinator, Chief Tony Osheku says Dare will be remembered as the first Sports Minister in over four decades who has taken a positive and proactive interest in long-distance running and runners. He also explains why the National Cross Country Championships is a necessary start for distance runners who want to succeed on the road or the track.
“I was a strong part of the team the Sports 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,” said Osheku, a former Nigeria 1500m champion and one of the best brains when it comes to distance running in Nigeria.
“I cannot remember any Sports Minister who has shown the kind of interest and enthusiasm Chief Dare has shown and his knowledge of the sport. It is amazing.”
Like the Sports Minister, Osheku says training like a cross country runner or running in a National Cross Country Championships event will make an athlete faster, stronger, and more in tune with his body and become mentally stronger.
“In cross country, you sometimes do a jump or run up a hill, and you’re not sure if you’re going to stumble. Or maybe you’ve picked up a lot of mud on your shoes and they feel as heavy as rocks. Either way, you’re building enormous strength: The hills and mud develop power and resilience in your calves, hamstrings, and quads. The uneven ground strengthens your feet and ankles,” Osheku stated.
The National Cross Country Championships is a 10km event and will be held at the Rhino Golf Course in the beautiful city of Jos.