RWANDA’S middle distance runner Salome Nyirarukundo has said that her debut at the Olympics taught her a great deal lessons despite a poor display in the women’s 10,000m final last week.
The 18-year-old budding athlete finished 27th out of the 35 participants in the first track and field competition of the 2016 Rio Olympics that took place at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Rutsiro-born athlete clocked 32:07:80, hence failing to beat her personal best time of 31:45:82 that she set during the 20th edition of Africa Athletics Senior competition that took place in Durban, South Africa.
Nyirarukundo noted that her debut campaign at the world’s biggest quadrennial sporting event has left her with more positive lessons that will guide her in preparation for the next Olympic Games to be hosted in Tokyo, Japan in 2020.
“The competition was tough with a lot of experienced and world superstars like Almaz Ayana and Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, who have set world records, so I thank God that I even got such a position . Even some big names failed to finish the race given the weather conditions, Nyirarukundo said in a phone interview with Times Sport.
She added that; “The most important thing I have got from this competition is the experience, I have to change my training techniques now if I am to challenge these athletes next time and I hope by 2020 I will be ready to challenge for a podium finish.”
Ethiopia’s 24-year-old Almaz Ayana won the race to claim the first athletics gold medal in scintillating style, breaking a record that had stood for 23 years. Ayana shattered the world record in a time of 29:17.45, beating silver medalist Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya by over 15 seconds.
Two-time world champion Cheruiyot finished in 29:32.53, while Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba won the bronze medal with a time of 29:42.56, missing out on the chance to become the first woman to win three individual gold medals in a row. She won the races during the 2008 and 2012 editions.
Ayana broke the old world record of 29:31.78, which was set by China’s Junxia Wang in 1993.
Nyirarukundo was among the trio of runners representing Rwanda in Rio. The others are Claudette Mukasakindi and Ambroise Uwiragiye, who will compete in full marathon.