The National Athletics team trio of Salome Nyirarukundo, Beatha Nishimwe and Clementine Mukandaga have started non-residential training for the upcoming 20th Africa Athletics Senior Championships that runs from June 22-26, in Durban, South Africa.
19-year-old Nyirarukundo and 18-year-old Nishimwe, who are affiliated to APR athletics club, are currently training daily at Amahoro national stadium under the close guidance of head coach Anicet Kanyabugoyi, while Mukandanga is training at the Gicumbi high performance centre.
The trio will be making their debut at the continent’s biggest biennial event competing in the women seniors’ category in a bid to qualify for the Olympic Games set for August 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It is also the first time that Rwandan athletes have qualified for the continental show piece, previously Rwanda has been sending athletes on invitation.
“We have begun preparations a bit early because we are targeting a memorable appearance and we hope to qualify more athletes to the Olympic Games from this competition which requires intensive preparations,” Kanyabugoyi said.
He further noted that; “We expect a tough competition since this will be a big event but our athletes have also competed in several competitions outside the country before.”
Nyirarukundo and Nishimwe are also part of the five athletes that recently booked tickets to the forthcoming IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships, set for July 19-24 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The other three include 17-year-old Honorine Iribagiza, James Sugira, 19, and 19-year-old Jean Marie Vianney Myasiro.
Rwanda has already booked three athletics tickets for the Olympic Games that includes Netherland-based long distance runner Ambroise Uwiragiye , Jean Baptiste Simukeka and Claudette Mukasakindi. who are currently training in Italy.