The young Cameroonian athlete from Oku in the North West region of Cameroonian in an interview granted Cameroon News Today-CNT shades light on the difficulties faced by athletes of the Cameroon Athletic Federation.
Because of the socio-political tensions that rocked the country last year, Mentam Cornelius Lower Sixth Student of Government Technical High School Oku never had an opportunity to pursue his education.
Athletics then became the top activity of the 22 year old Probatoire candidate“ before getting into athletics seven years ago, football was my passion. I played the FENASCO games, became best in it. Later on I discovered that athletics was better than football”.
“My dream is to be a Kenyan Cameroonian meaning a Cameroonian athlete of Kenyan standard”.
As compared to the African Cross Country competition usually organised yearly where participating athletes are been giving top participation fees of 398,000 FRS, the Cameroonian Athletic Federation gives athletes 10,000FCFA. That was the case during the first ever edition of 2016 Cameroon Cup of Athletes which took place at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium.
This time around, the athletes who is running the 5KM track run for this 2017 edition of the competition which took place this Saturday Sept 16, 2017 hopes will have a much more encouraging financial package for Athlete “ last year I won a bronze medal on the 5KM track run and my prize was just 5,000CFA”
The promising Cameroonian athlete, who emerged 7th at the Mount Cameroun Race of Hope last February 2017, is calling on the government for help “In Kenya for example, athletes reportedly have matriculation numbers which means they are considered as Civil Servants, having a salary at the end of every month, that’s why they are so powerful. They don’t care about doing other activities to sustain athletic goals, athletics is a profession”
To survive the strenuous atmosphere, the athlete usually engages into clearing farms in his native Oku village in the North West region of Cameroon to be able to grab some cash buy training shoes“Out of the 20, 000FCFA I spent from my personal pockets to take part in the Limbe competition I was given back a total of 15000frs that is 10,000FCFA for transport and 5,000FCFA for the bronze medal”.