Nyirarukundo eyes personal best in London race

Rwanda’s middle-distance runner Salome Nyirarukundo will be looking to post a personal best time when she competes in the women’s 10,000 metres race on Saturday at the IAAF World Championships.
The 20-year old Nyirarukundo will be making her debut at the competition but says she is not afraid to compete against the world’s best athletes. File.
The 20-year old Nyirarukundo will be making her debut at the competition but says she is not afraid to compete against the world’s best athletes. File.

Saturday

Women’s 10,000m 9:10pm

Rwanda’s middle-distance runner Salome Nyirarukundo will be looking to post a personal best time when she competes in the women’s 10,000 metres race on Saturday at the IAAF World Championships.

The 20-year-old Nyirarukundo is Rwanda’s sole representative at the 16th IAAF World Championships, which started on Friday and will run until August 13 in London, England.

The Kigali International Peace Half Marathon reigning champion, Nyirarukundo, will be making her debut appearance but says she is not afraid to compete against the world’s best athletes.

She will be up against Ethiopians; Almaz Ayana, who decimated the opposition – and the long-standing world record – at last year’s Olympic Games and Tirunesh Dibaba, who is looking to claim her sixth gold medal at the World Championships to go alongside her three Olympic titles on the track.

Kenya claimed this title two years ago when Vivian Cheruiyot won the race in Beijing but with Cheruiyot effectively retired from the track, the Kenyans will be fielding a new look team.

Their trio includes world cross-country champion Irene Cheptai and the predecessor to that title Agnes Tirop, who won the Kenyan Trials as well as Alice Aprot, the only returning member of the Kenyan trio from the Rio Olympic Games.

“I am here for the first time and I will be competing against the world’s best athletes. I will give it my best. I will either win or learn so I can do better on my next occasion,” Nyirarukundo told Saturday Sport from London on Thursday evening.

The youngster revealed that she was struggling a bit with flu but insisted it was something not to worry about or even stop her from competing.

She noted that, “I have flu but I’m doing great. Hopefully, I’ll be fit enough for the race on Saturday. My main goal is improving my personal best.”

Prior to traveling to London on Tuesday, the soft-spoken Nyirarukundo had been training in Kenya for the last two months at Global Communications Camp in Kaptagat, Eldoret.

In May, Nyirarukundo made history after becoming the first Rwandan female athlete to win the half marathon in the Kigali International Peace Marathon since the inception of the annual event in 2005.

Two weeks later, she set a new national record in 5000m (15 minutes, 34 seconds and 91 microseconds) during the Nijmegen Global Athletics Championships that took place on June 4 in Nijmegen, Netherlands.

The APR Athletics Club runner Nyirarukundo qualified for World Championships at the Rio Olympics Games last year in Brazil.

Nyirarukundo travelled with the Rwanda Athletics Federation (RAF) president, Jean Paul Munyandamutsa.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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