Ugandan mountain runners have thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the world and African nations who will be coming for the 7th Obudu international mountain race and the third African mountain running championships holding at the Obudu Ranch Resort, Cross River State on November 28.
The Ugandans, who displaced Ethiopia last year as the overall men's title winner at the second edition of the African nations mountain running championships in Obudu were the highest ranked African nation at the 27th World Mountain Running Championships held in Tirana, Albania last September.
Led by the irrepressible Kibet James who placed 8th in the individual race won by USA's King Max, the Ugandans chalked up 119 points to place sixth in the men's team ranking and are clearly the favorites to retain the title they won last year.
The Ugandans will however have to spare some thoughts for Eritrea who have confirmed participation for the championships and who, only two years ago dominated the individual and the team events at the 26th World Mountain Running Championships in Kamnik, Slovenia.
Also confirmed for the event are Egypt and Kenya while Cameroon, Ghana and Ethiopia are yet to submit their entries although Athletics Federation of Nigeria secretary general, Maria Worphil is convinced the trio will send in their entries for the November 28 championships.
Meanwhile, the Cross-Rivers state Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ugbe has expressed happiness with the performance of Uganda and believes this year's team events will be keenly contested.
"This is good for the race. It will now make it more competitive and I believe this year's edition will be the best ever in terms of performance and attendance.
The Ethiopians will now have to redouble their effort if they are desirous of regaining the title they won in 2009 as well as make a clean sweep of the individual titles like they did last year," said Ugbe.
The race covers a distance of 11 kilometres uphill to an altitude of 1,575 metres above sea level, taking you to one of the finest tourist destinations in the world.