Salome Nyirarukundo 4:10pm
Teenager Salome Nyirarukundo will make her Olympic debut today in the women’s 10,000 meters final, hoping to break her current personal record of 31:45:82.
The 18-year-old had her maiden participation in a senior competition on June 25 during the 20th edition of Africa Athletics Senior Championship that took place in Durban, South Africa, where she finished 4th in the 10,000m.
She posted her personal best time of 31:45:82, which was well below the Rio Olympics qualification minima time of 32 minutes and 15 seconds.
Speaking to Times Sport in a phone interview from Rio, ahead of her Olympic debut, the Rutsiro district-born athlete revealed that her target is to finish the race in the lowest time possible.
The marathon is one of the toughest races on the Olympics schedule. Nyirarukundo will compete against 37 athletes, including defending champion and hot favourite Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, who won gold in London, posting 30:20.75.
Others are; Kenyans Sally Kipyego, silver medalist from London in a time of 30:26.37 and Vivian Cheruiyot, who claimed bronze four years ago in 30:30.44.
“This is a big and tough competition with more experienced athletes from different parts of the world, nonetheless, I want to do my best and challenge to the last, my priority target is to set a new Personal Best,” said Nyirarukundo.
In the just concluded IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships that took place from July 19-24 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, she set her Personal Best in 5000m after finishing 13th posting 15:57:68.
Nyirarukundo is among the trio of runners representing Rwanda in Rio. The other two are; Claudette Mukasakindi and Ambroise Uwiragiye, who will compete in full marathon.