Ashanti Region’s Malik Yakubu brushed off competition from other regional contenders to be crowned the National Cross Country champion at Mpohor in the Western Region on Saturday.
His endurance was a delight to watch as he paced himself well over the 10km distance to cross the finish line ahead of his closest challengers.
Equalling thrilling to watch was Ramata Abdulai of the Upper East Region who won the ladies category involving six long distance runners each from all the regions.
Ramata Abdulai receives her trophy from the Deputy Minister
The Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Perry Okudzeto, who represented his boss, Isaac Asiamah, said competition fell in line with government’s decision to use sports as a tool for job creation, recreation, education and crime prevention.
He stated that this year, government would support more of such sporting activities as Ghana, begin preparation towards the All Africa Games in 2023.
The minister congratulated the National Sports Authority for reviving an important sporting event which had been dormant for a decade and said he hoped it would become a permanent feature on the nation’s sporting calendar.
Professor Peter Twumasi, the Director General of the National Sports Authority, said the competition was the competition was revived after a 10-year break to unearth the best talents who could represent the nation in long distance events at international events.
Athletes from the 10 regions of Ghana participated
He said the NSA was determined to revive all dormant sporting events and the cross country championship was just a curtain raiser for a busy 2019 sports calendar.
He congratulated the athletes for their good performance displayed during the event and also used the occasion to thank the sponsors, which includes the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ghana Gas, John Sani Foundation, George Lutterodt, among others, who supported the event in diverse ways.
Malik Yakubu crossing the finish line to win the men's event