Next weekend’s Mount Cameroon Race of Hope will start and end at the Molyko Stadium like past editions, an athletics official has said, ending weeks of speculations that the venue might be moved to the Bongo Square.
But unlike in the past, race officials have located the start and finish line outside the stadium, which is closed for works. The venue allows much of the final moments of the race to take part through the city.
Hundreds of athletes from across the world participate in the foot race up and down one of Africa’s highest peaks on 27 February. More than 5000 visitors come to Buea every year for the race.
Resident feared a venue change will ruin the spectacle of the race’s finish and satellite cultural events. Bongo Square, located further up hill, is a narrow strip of main road often used for major official ceremonies.
Andrew Etiki Njoh, the South West athletics league president ended weeks of speculations that the race’s start and finish line might be moved to the Bongo Square, which is a smaller venue than Molyko.
“The venue has not been changed,” the South West regional president of the athletics league Andrew Etiki Njoh, in an interview with The Standard Tribune. Several meetings were taking place in Buea and Yaounde ahead of the grand event, he said.
Residents expect to have an exciting race this year, said our correspondent in Buea Electa Atabong, after speaking with people in the streets of Buea.
“All eyes are looking forward to the Chariot of the Gods in Buea,” she said. “They will like to see people who have the strength and the courage to climb the mountain and back to the stadium. The excitement also comes from the way Guinness has organized the race recently.”
Brewery giants Guinness Cameroon have been main sponsor of the race over the last three years, after the ministry of sports and the athletics federation took over in 2005. Their contract ends this year.