By Mitzuh Ignatius Mbah
BBC Focus On Africa magazine
One-legged athlete Ngeve Zache Etutu has made history by becoming the first disabled person to complete one of the most daunting challenges in Africa - the Mount Cameroon race.
Etutu was awarded CFA1.5m for his feat
Etutu, who had previously competed in the event seven times without success before a motorcycle accident in 2000 required his right leg to be amputated, spent a night on the mountain in the middle of the gruelling 42km trek.
He returned to massive celebrations, with the Cameroon Government awarding him CFA1.5m prize money.
"It took me 14 hours to get to the peak of Mount Cameroon and another one hour and 43 minutes to descend," said Etutu after the race.
"I spent a night at Hut II [one of the stages on the course] with my guard. He was guiding, monitoring and encouraging me."
The Mount Cameroon race is one of the most challenging in African athletics.
It is difficult enough for the able-bodied, winding up and down the mountain at such great altitude that it is often hard to draw breath.
But Etutu added his 16-year-long passion for athletics had encouraged him to continue running even after the devastating accident.
"I told myself that all was not lost," Etutu said.
"I decided to make history by becoming the first handicapped athlete in Cameroon to climb up to 4,100m above sea level."
The men's section for able-bodied athletes was won by Ngoag Pongha Charles in four hours 31 minutes.
Etutu added that the prize money he received would "motivate me to do more," and added he would campaign to have a special race on Mount Cameroon for disabled people.
However his request has been turned down by the country's Athletics Federation.
"The Mount Cameroon remains the most dangerous, if not deadly, race for [able-bodied] people because of its structure, climate and topography," explained the federation's deputy secretary-general Charles Kouoh Kotte.
"To organise a race for the disabled is equal to suicide."
The full version of this article appears in the July-September 2003 issue of BBC Focus On Africa magazine