AFTER weeks of preparation, Rwanda’s athletics team departs tonight to compete in this year’s IAAF World half Marathon Championship set for October 11 in Birmingham, England.
The team comprises of Sylvain Rukundo, Gervais Hakizimana, Eric Sebahire, Jean Baptista Simuceka and Claudette Mukasakindi.
Sebahire, Mukasakindi and athletics coach Innocent Rwabuhihi depart aboard SN Brussels this evening and will have a stop over in Brussels before connecting to Birmingham.
Rukundo, Simuceka and Hakizimana who have been training in Italy and France will link up with the trio tomorrow.
Rwanda’s ace athletes Dieudonne Disi and Epiphanie Nyirabarame are not taking part in the half marathon.
Disi failed to secure a visa on time while Nyirabarame opted to compete in the Francophone Games which climaxed on Monday in Beirut, Lebanon.
Initially, the local athletics federation had named four female athletes (Epiphanie Nyirabarame, Janet Nyirahabimana, Pelaggie Musabimana and Jean d’luc Mukakigeri) for the event but later revisited the decision due to financial constraints thus leaving Mukasakindi as Rwanda’s sole female athlete for the championship.
Disi was Rwanda’s top performer in last year’s edition held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after finishing sixth with a time of one hour, three minutes and three seconds.
Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese won the marathon while Patrick Makau Musyoki of Kenya and Qatar’s Ahmad Hassan Abdullah claimed the remaining two podium slots.
In 2006, Disi finished 9th in Debrecen.
This year’s World half Marathon Championship is expected to attract over 200 athletes from over 50 countries.
The athletes will start and finish at Broad Street near Centenary Square in the heart of Birmingham city.