Senior Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) officials met in Jalingo, Taraba state on Wednesday to begin final preparations for the first-ever 10km National Cross Country Championships, which will take place on Saturday.
The race is organized in compliance with the roadmap of the AFN executive board led by Tonobok Okowa to develop athletics in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
In addition to the 10 km Cross Country race, the AFN will also hold its Annual General Assembly in the city. The AGM, which was previously set for Bauchi, will now be held at Jalingo.
The Tidesports source has learned that Okowa and other officials, including General Secretary Rita Mosindi, are expected to visit Jalingo from yesterday to put the final touches on preparation for the race and AGM.
AFN First Vice President and Chairman of the Road Races sub-committee, Tafida Gadzama, said the cross country race is also being organized to help develop Nigerian middle and long distance runners.
“You know that cross country is a sport where teams and individuals run on outdoor tracks on natural terrain like dirt and grass.
“This way, our athlete will build tremendous strength, as the hills and mud build power and endurance in the calves, hamstrings, and quads,” he said.
Gadzama continues: “Most world-class long-distance runners prepare for their season by running distance races. Kenya has already done many races since December and the world cross-country race will take place next month in Australia. I think the AFN is going in the right direction with its development plans for long-distance runners”.
According to the AFN, cash prizes will be awarded to the top 10 finishers in the senior male and senior female categories.
The AFN Annual General Congress was previously set for Saturday 21 January in Bauchi, but has been moved to Jalingo.