Plateau state continued to show their superiority in the long distance races in Nigeria following their first spot placements in the first ever National Cross Country Championship sponsored by Nilayo Sports Management Limited.
Kefas Williams and Blessing Shambor Solomon were the winners of the inaugural edition.
Kefas, won the men’s race at 31minutes 38:38seconds. He got a cash prize of N300,000.
In second place was Stephen Joshua, who crossed the line at 31minutes 28: 30 seconds. He got N200,000 for efforts.
While in third place was Emmanuel Gyang who finished at 32minutes 01:27seconds. He got N100,000.
The men’s race was so competitive such that the finishers from first place to 6th position were all Nigerian elite athletes.
The likes of pre-event favourites; Paul James Pam (32:39:08), Solomon Nyango (33:19:69), James Gyang Gwon ( 33:25:93), Simon Markus (33:26:10), Nyango Gyang (33:31:49) and Iliya Pam 33:39:69 all ran 33 minutes.
Iliya Pam, earlier rated to win the championship said he was hindered by an injury sustained at the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
In the women’s category, a shocking result was recorded as highly rated Debora Pam, was beaten to second place by Blessing Shambor Solomon.
Pam, led the field for four lapses out of five, only to be overtaken by Solomon in the fifth lap. The Plateau state athlete didn’t look back to cross the finish line at 38minutes 36:12 seconds. She got N300,000.
Pam, who finished at 38minutes 47:37 seconds blamed fatigue from road travel from Lagos as hindrance. She got N200,000.
In third place was Grace Dalum, who finished at 39minutes 10:91 second. She got cash prize of N100,000.
Winners from the 4th place to 10th positions all got cash prizes from the sponsors, Nilayo Sports Management Limited. A total N2 million cash prizes was shared among the winners.
The zonal coordinator, North Central in the sports ministry, Mrs. Deborah Pitman represented the Honourable Minister of Sports at the event.
All the Elite runners that participated in the Jos Cross Country Championship together with the event’s Coordinator, Chief Tony Osheku, commended the Managing Director of Nilayo Sports Management Limited, Chief Bukola Olopade, for sponsoring the Jos Cross Country championship, which has opened the eyes of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, and indeed the Sports Ministry to host a championship that would benefit the fortunes of Nigeria long distance performances in international races.