The Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, has confirmed Saturday March 18 as the new date for the postponed National Cross Country race.
Tafida Gadzama, the Federation’s first Vice President who also heads the Road Race sub-committee confirmed that the race earlier scheduled to hold last month will now hold on March 18 with Jalingo, the capital of Taraba state still the venue for the race.
‘The AFN National Cross Country race will hold on Saturday March 18 in Jalingo and the Federation is making arrangements for a hitch-free event,’ said Gadzama, an Olympic gold medal winner in 2000.
The AFN Road Race sub-committee chairman believes the journey to start producing world class middle and long distance runners begins with the athletes and the coaches knowing they need to include cross country training in their training regime.
‘I saw clips of the Cross Country race held in Jos last month and was delighted our athletes and coaches are made to understand they need to run in competitions like that and train in a cross country course to get better.
‘The objective is not to produce World and Olympic medalists overnight but to improve the performance of our athlete and make them competitive.
‘If they are competitive, achieve the standards that will get them to run in continental and international road races, they can start making money that they will use to take care of their families and contribute to the GDP of Nigeria,’ added Gadzama, the 1997 African U20 400m champion.
The AFN vice-president says cross country running will make our athletes better and stronger runners.
‘According to experts, running cross- country not only builds athletes’ physical strength but also their mental strength.
”Anyone who has ever run cross-country understands the mental toughness that is necessary to complete a work-out and a race,’ added Gadzama.