Sugira tipped for greatness

Youngster James Sugira has been identified as Rwanda's next sensational long distance runner who will turn this country's fortunes at the international level.
James Sugira going through his paces yesterday at Amahoro national stadium.(Doreen Umutesi)
James Sugira going through his paces yesterday at Amahoro national stadium.(Doreen Umutesi)

Youngster James Sugira has been identified as Rwanda’s next sensational long distance runner who will turn this country’s fortunes at the international level.

The 17-year-old, who has just completed his A’level examinations at Groupe Scolaire Remera-Rukoma in Kamonyi District, departs for the Eldoret High Performance Centre today to embark on a one-year training scholarship offered to him by the International Amateur Athletics Federation.

Sugira is the first Rwandan to receive this high-status opportunity from the world athletics body that observed his impressive performance in the boys’ 1500m event at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in August.

“I am really excited about this chance and I am looking forward to learning as much as possible. I also want to work on my acceleration, speed and endurance and to better my time,” revealed Sugira in an exclusive interview with Times Sport.

Sugira, who posted 3:49:00 in Nanjing, believes that training with the world’s elite athletes like world 800m record holder David Rudisha will be very crucial in his development as a middle distance runner.

The Rwanda Athletics Federation (RAF) technical director Jean Pierre Ndacyayisenga expressed delight at this development and said, “Investing in young athletes is the way to go for us. Sugira is very talented and is on course to being the best athlete Rwanda has ever seen.”

Ndacyayisenga, who hailed Sugira’s discipline, commitment and hardworking attributes, revealed that the youngster will practice for the boys’ 3000m event ahead of the 2015 Africa Junior Athletics Championships in Ethiopia before switching to 5000m in preparation for the All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville in November.

Sugira has revealed that he is eyeing qualification to the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil and it is this target therefore that will serve as inspiration during his stay in Kenya.

Aware of the challenges of training away from home, the teenager admitted that it will be tough but his vision is to win medals for Rwanda at the international stage and a good performance throughout this one-year will reap another scholarship.

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