Medal hopes lie on Nkundabera

BEIJING - Jean de Dieu Nkundabera remains the country’s sole medal hope in Beijing after a disappointing show from the quartet in the able-bodied Olympic Games.
China’s Liu Xiang reacts after getting injured. (Photo/ Li Ga/ Xinhua).
China’s Liu Xiang reacts after getting injured. (Photo/ Li Ga/ Xinhua).

BEIJING - Jean de Dieu Nkundabera remains the country’s sole medal hope in Beijing after a disappointing show from the quartet in the able-bodied Olympic Games.

The 800m Paralympics star who won bronze four years ago in Athens will compete in the Paralympics Games set for September 6-17.

Rwanda’s medal hunt in the Games came to an end on Sunday when Disi Dieudonne (10000m) and Epiphanie Nyirabarame (Marathon) failed to impress.

Disi finished 19th after clocking 27:56:74 in the race which was won by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele who set a personal record of 27:01:17.

In the women’s marathon, Nyirabarame finished in a distant 66th spot after clocking 2:49:32. However, the pair’s coach Innocent Rwabuhihi has blamed the rugged performance on small numbers.

He said, “Ethiopians and Kenyans fielded two or three athletes and this strategy worked for them.”

Despite finishing 19th, Disi received great applause from Rwanda’s ambassador to China Ben Ruganganzi.

The ambassador who watched the 10000m finals held at the Bird’s nest stadium said Disi is capable of winning silverware for Rwanda in the near future.

In the swimming category, three-time Olympian Pamela Girimbabazi and debutant Jackson Niyomugabo failed to get past the preliminaries after clocking 39:78 and 27:74 seconds respectively in 50m freestyle.

Elsewhere, hosts China suffered the biggest upset of the Games as world champion Liu Xiang fell down at the start of his qualifying heat in round one of the Men’s 110m Hurdles yesterday.

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