Olympics: Imaniraguha, Umurungi arrive in Rio


Rwandan swimmers Imaniraguha and Umurungi pose for a photo on arriving in Rio for the Olympic Games. (Courtesy)

Swimmers Elio Imaniraguha and Johanna Umurungi were the first Rwandan athletes to touch base in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games, slated to start on August 5-21 in Brazil.

The Rio Olympics swimming competition is scheduled for August 6-13 at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.

Imaniraguha, 21, arrived in Rio on August 28 from Phuket, Thailand where he had been camping for the past 12 months under a scholarship offered by International Swimming Federation (FINA), while 20-year-old Umurungi arrived a day later from Torino, Italy where she lives with her family. Imaniraguha will compete in the men’s 50m freestyle while Umurungi will participate in the women’s 100m freestyle.

Imaniraguha’s record stands at 25 seconds, just over three seconds behind the qualification (22.27) while Umurungi’s personal best is one minute and seven seconds, short of the minima time of 54 seconds and 43 microseconds.

The addition of the two swimmers takes the number of athletes to represent Rwanda in Rio to eight.

Team Rwanda captain Adrine Niyonshuti, who will compete in the cycling road race competition, was expected to reach in Rio on Monday from Italy. The 29-year-old will be Team Rwanda’s flag bearer during the opening ceremony on August 6.

The other four athletes: Claudette Mukasakindi (marathon), and Salome Nyirarukundo (10,000m) will arrive on August 9; Nathan Byukusenge (Mountain bike) will arrive on August 15, while Ambroise Uwiragiye (Marathon) is expected to arrive in Rio on August 16.

In the Rio Paralympic Games, scheduled for September 7-18, Rwanda will be represented by the women sitting volleyball team, who will also be representing the African continent, and Hermas Cliff Muvunyi in the 400m T-46 and 800m T-46 races.