Uwiragiye qualifies for Rio 2016 Olympics


Runners at the starting line of the Rotterdam Marathon on Sunday in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Net photo)


NN Marathon Rotterdam

1. Marius Kipserem (Kenya) 2:06:11
2. Solomon Deksisa (Ethiopia) 2:06:22
3. Goeffrey Kirul (Kenya) 2:07:23
4. Limenah Getachaw (Ethiopia) 2:08:48
5. Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) 2:10:56
24. Ambroise Uwiragiye (Rwanda) 2:18:26

Rwanda international long distance runner Ambroise Uwiragiye has vowed to intensify preparations after qualifying for the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics set for August 5-21 in Brazil.

On Sunday, Rwanda Athletics Federation announced that Uwiragiye had made the mark to compete at the Olympics after impressing in the NN full Marathon in Rotterdam on Sunday.

The 36-year-old, who is based in Netherlands, finished in 24th position after clocking 2:18:26.

“I am pleased to reach this stage, but I still have a lot of work to do. I will do all I can to impress during the competition. It is good for me, and I hope I can do better,” Uwiragiye told Times Sports in a phone interview.

The NN Marathon Rotterdam is one of the IAAF Gold Label road races, and is among many qualifying events for the Summer Olympics.

Uwiragiye used 2:18:26, six minutes and 15 seconds behind the champion Marius Kipserem of Kenya at the 36th edition of the annual competition. He becomes the third Rwandan marathoner to qualify for the world’s biggest sports event.


“I still have a lot of work to do as I want to reduce my time from 2:18:26 to 2:11. I still have time to prepare and I will do all I can to be ready for the competition,” Uwiragiye said.

Rwanda Athletics Federation (RAF) described the development as a step forward for the sport in Rwanda.

“We are pleased with Uwiragiye who qualified for Rio on Sunday. This is a big step forward for the athletics federation in Rwanda. We have now grown from qualifying through wild cards. We are looking at qualifying more athletes for Rio in the next two months,” said the delighted Johnson Rukundo, RAF Secretary General.

Uwiragiye becomes the third Rwandan athlete to qualify for the prestigious multisport event that attracts the best athletes in the world.

Others include long distance runners Jean Baptiste Simukeka and Claudette Mukasakindi.

Mukasikindi qualified through the Firenze Marathon while Simukeka landed his ticket after participating in Reggio Emilia Marathon, both races were staged in Italy under the full marathon category.

At the 2012 London Olympics, Rwanda was represented by Mukasakindi (women) and Jean Pierre Mvuyekure (men) in the full marathon as well as Robert Kajuga in the men’s 10,000m category.