2013 MOUNT CAMEROON RACE; THE REST OF CAMEROON HAS TO WORK HARDER AS FAMILIAR FACES DOMINATE THE RACE AGAIN
By Moki Stephen Mokondo in Buea for Fako UK/Fako News Centre
17 February 2013
The dust that was raised in Buea and beyond on Saturday February 16, 2013, is yet to settle as seven-times female champion of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope, Sarah Liengu Etonge, finished in 2nd position in this year’s edition of the race. She bounced back into top form this year, stirring another surprise at a time when many thought she was too old to run the mountain race and should be resting from active participation in racing.
Sarah Liengu Etonge who was around the 8th position in the female category when she passed Upper Farms while ascending, took all by surprise by the time radio announced that she had crossed Hut II in the second position in the female category. She took many on their heels when she emerged from the forest running down with full force a few minutes behind this year’s lady champion.
The young, the old, the indigenous and non-indigenous Bakweri people took their turn to hail and encourage her as she ran along the main street of Buea to cross finish point at the Molyko Omnisport Stadium.
Sarah who finished second during this year’s edition of the race had announced her retirement years ago. But according to her, when she started training young girls for future racing competitions, she discovered that she still had much strength. That is how she came back to the race four years after her retirement to participate in last year’s edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope and earned the 4th position in the female category.
Apart from the two million francs CFA as cash prize awarded to the second lady of the race, Sarah went home with many prizes coming from individuals and companies. One of it was a passage ticket to fly to and from Paris awarded by Ethiopian Airlines.
The Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Adoum Garoua, announced an additional FCFA 5 million for the promised house for the Queen of the Mountain, Sarah Liengu Etonge. Despite promises made in 2010 by the Cameroon Athletic Federation to construct a retirement home for her, nothing has been realised to that effect. The many who listened to the minister’s pronouncement only hope this is not another empty promise.
Generally, the race was very competitive with a very little time difference between the runners especially amongst the first five athletes in various categories. Though the local population still continue to complain of the little publicity done for the race, it has proven to be the biggest crowd pulling event in Fako Division and the South West Region in general. Most of the winners came from the North West Region.
1st Godlove Gabsibiun, who was also last year’s winner, origin from the North West Region, did the race in 4hrs 31mins 54 secs
2nd Tiku Divine Enyung, new comer, origin from the North West Region did the race in 4hrs 32ms 19secs.
3rd Januarius Bunkinyung, winner of the 2007 and 2008 editions, origin of the Centre Region did the race in 4hrs 33ms and 0.1secs.
1st Yvonne Ngwaya, also winner of the 2010, 2011, 2012 editions, origin of the North West Region, did the race at 5hrs 32ms 23secs.
2nd Sarah Liengu Etonge, winner the 1996-1999 and winner of three other editions, origin of the South West Region, did the race in 5hrs 44ms 41secs.
3rd, Ngalim Lisette Narila, origin of the North West Region, did the race in 5hrs 46ms 5secs.
At the time when many Fako indigenes were expecting more from one of theirs, Lyonga Mondoa, who has been between the 4th and 8th position in the past 6 years that is when the worst happened. Lyonga Mondoa who has spent longer time training to bring back the lost glory of the Bakweri tribe in the Mount Cameroon Race is reported to have collapsed midway into the forest while still climbing. Hence, he did not complete the race. He said later that he had suffered severe malaria and had not fully regained his strength at the time of the race.