All set for Africa Cross- country Championship

RWANDAN athletes will have to dig in deeper if they are to win any medals in  the 2014 Africa Cross-country Championships set for today in Kampala.
Godfrey Rutayisire, right, seen here competing in a past half marathon race, will lead Rwanda’s quest for medals in  Kampala. (File)
Godfrey Rutayisire, right, seen here competing in a past half marathon race, will lead Rwanda’s quest for medals in Kampala. (File)

Today
Junior women race [6km] - 1:30pm
Junior men race [8km] - 2pm
Senior women race [8km] - 2:45pm
Senior men race [12km] - 3:40pm

RWANDAN athletes will have to dig in deeper if they are to win any medals in  the 2014 Africa Cross-country Championships set for today in Kampala.

Rwanda is fielding a team of 20, five in each category; while regional giants Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have fielded teams of 24 athletes  each in the 6km junior women’s race, 8km junior men, 8km senior men and 12km senior men’s events respectively.

Rwanda, along with majority of the other countries taking part in this year’s event, are considered minnows compared to the international names that have been lined up by Kenya, Ethiopia and hosts Uganda.

However, head coach Emmanuel Murenzi is optimistic that Team Rwanda will put up a good show after weeks of high altitude training in Rulindo.

“We have confidence in the team... they have been training extremely well and they are in good shape going into the competition,” Murenzi told Sunday Sport yesterday.

He added: “The Africa Cross Country Championships is a perfect stage for them to showcase their talents and I am sure they will prove critics wrong.”

Team Rwanda will be seeking to improve on their fourth place position attained in South Africa two years ago. Eric Sebahire and Godfrey Rutayisire are Rwanda’s biggest medal hopefuls in the men’s 12km race. 

Kenya threat

However, Kenya offers the biggest stumbling blocks to its rivals as Phillip Langat and Philemon Rono have been lined up in 12km race.

Having finished a disappointing 36th at the World Cross-country Championships in Poland last year, Rono won the Odubu International Mountain Race in Nigeria last year.

Ethiopia’s Mesfin Hunengaw, who finished fourth in the 10000m at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Poland, is the other strong contender.

By press time, other countries that had confirmed their participation included; Cameroon, Morocco, Gambia, Eritrea, Tunisia, Seychelles, Malawi, Sudan, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Comoros, Somalia, Nigeria, Zambia, Mauritius and Benin. 

Algeria, Kenya and Morocco are the only African countries to have won medals in the biennial event.

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TEAM RWANDA

Senior Team:

Men – Eric Sebahire, Léonidas Baganizi, Sept Nshumbusho, Godefrey Rutayisire and Noël Hitimana

Women – Clémentine Mukandanga, Fortune Manirafasha, Emilienne Muragijimana, Pélagie Musengimana and Blandine Uwamariya

Junior Team:

Boys – David Gakuru, Théophile Bigirimana, Jean Bosco Niyodusenga, Eric Turikunkiko and Jean Marie Vianney Myasiro

Girls – Marthe Yankurije, Rosette Twambazimana, Cynthia Mahoro, Angelique Tuyishimire and Claudine Nyiransengiyumva

 

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