Mt Cameroon Race: Tragic death of Kenyan athlete turns joy to sorrow.

The 2024 edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope has produced memories reminiscent of the 2023 edition, where there was joy and flow of tears at same time. This year’s race, organised in Buea on Saturday February 24, was one of the most exciting and competitive, especially in the Senior Men’s category.

The joy and euphoria that greeted the race, soon turned to sadness and tears, following the tragic death of a Kenyan athlete, Charles Kipsang.

 

Bright start, joyous moments 

It all looked bright when the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Prof Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, flagged off the race at the Molyko Stadium, with over 600 athletes in various categories.

The runners in the Senior as well as Junior categories and relay teams, headed for the mountain, hoping to be among the first to return, get the precious metals, trophies and cash prizes.

The competition was stiffer in the Men’s Senior category. Kenya’s William Cheboi Rutto, who led the race from the Molyko Stadium to the mountain, looked to be heading for the crown but gave up.

He suffered from fatigue and was outsmarted by Amadou Abdu, around the Great Soppo Market in Buea.

While Ahmadou Abdu seemed to enjoy a steady ride and was close to the finish line, Elvis Nsabinla, who had been trailing him, sprinted to the finish line to win the race in 4 hours, 47 minutes, 4 seconds.

Nsabinla beat Ahmadou Abdu by just a second, with the latter crossing the finish line in 4 hours, 47 minutes, 5 seconds. The third position was occupied by Saidu Nuhu Yerima, in 4 hours, 29 minutes, 4 seconds. 

 All three winners are from the North West Region of Cameroon. In the female category, first timer in lndividual category, Adamou Irine, emerged victorious in 5 hours, 36 minutes, 3 seconds. 

Speaking to the press, she expressed her appreciation to God for the victory. 

“This is my fourth year in this race and the first time that I am racing as an individual because the other years I was in the relay team. I reached the summit first and returned first. I thank God for taking me to and from the summit of the mountain,” she said.

She was followed by Tum Macrina, who did the race in 5 hours, 39 minutes, 4 seconds while Ngalim Lisette, came in on the third position, completing the race in 5 hours, 52 minutes, 3 seconds.

The winners in the men and women’s categories went home with cash prizes of 10 million FCFA each, plus gifts from various sponsors.

Officials with winners in the senior men category

 

Sports a force in uniting people

Speaking to the press after the race, Sports and Physical Education boss, Prof Mouelle Kombi saluted the Local Organising Committee for putting up such a great show. 

The race, he said, was a confirmation of the role of sports in uniting people. 

“Today, we see sports again as a factor in bringing national unity and promoting social cohesion amongst Cameroonians but also for people from across the world”. 

He said he was elated that there was no security challenge as the race was organised hitch-free.

 

Sad ending

All seemed to have gone well until news circulated later same day about the death of a Kenyan athlete, Charles Kipsang Kipkorir, who was among the competitors in the 2024 race.

The Governor of the South West Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, who confirmed the death of the athlete to reporters, said Kipsang Kipkorir had suffered a malaise, shortly after completing the race.

The official said he was ranked 16th in the Senior Men’s category, adding that the now deceased athlete had even communicated with the President of the Cameroon Athletics Federation, promising to return next year for the 2025 edition.

According to Governor Okalia Bilai, the athlete slumped while stepping out to receive his award on the podium and was immediately rushed to the Regional Hospital annex Buea, where he was confirmed death on arrival.

Kipsang was in his fourth participation in the annual athletics showcase in Buea.

Going by the Governor, his death is a great loss to the sports world and Kenya in particular. 

“His death is a great loss to his family, the world of athletics, Cameroon, Africa and in particular this race, because he helped with his participation to give the race international colour”.

Kipsang Charles Kipkorir was one amongst a team of 19 athletes from Kenya who challenged the chariots of the gods during the 2024 edition. 

The 2024 race had 32 international athletes from Kenya, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Chad, Costa Rica, Congo, France, Tunisia, Central African Republic and Morocco, demonstrating the growing international profile of the race.

about author About author : Shing Timothy

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