Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare, will flag off the National Cross Country race this weekend in Jos, Plateau State, the organisers have said. Race Coordinator, Tony Osheku, said in Lagos, yesterday, that Dare is a fitting choice to flag off the historic race, not only because of his position as the leader of the sports family in Nigeria, but also because he is the first sports minister in almost 40 years to show genuine concerns about developing distance running in Nigeria.

“There was no hesitation over the choice of Dare,’’ Osheku said, while assuring that all arrangements for a successful event have been concluded.

“Dare has heard the cries of Nigerian distance runners, who have been craving the attention they are getting now for almost four decades. He is the first to organise a training camp for them last year in Jos and now, he is the brain behind the first National Cross Country race in about 40 years,” Osheku said.

He described as symbolic the choice of Saturday for the event. “The World Cross Country Championships will hold in Bathurst, Australia, the same day as the Jos race. We agreed to the date to draw attention to the fact that the future of distance running in Nigeria depends on Cross Country training,” he stated.

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