Valens Ndayisenga made good on his promise of clinching a podium finish at the Africa Cycling Championship after winning silver in the men’s U-23 category in the individual time trial at the Africa continental cycling championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
The 21-year-old finished in second place behind Eritrean Kudus Merhawi to achieve a long time dream following his debut performance at the 2013 edition where he finished fourth missing out on a medal.
Ndayisenga told Times Sport that, “I am extremely excited that I managed to finish second because my main target was to get a podium finish. There was too much wind but I had to take on the challenge and forget about the wind because every rider had to deal with the same wind any way.”
“This is a good achievement in my career and it is good for Rwanda. I am really impressed with this performance and I will continue to work hard so that at the next event, I win gold,” explained the Rwamagana-born cycling sensation.
Ndayisenga was the only non-professional cyclist to win a medal.
In the women’s elite category, 20-year-old Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu finished in fifth position in her second international event in her cycling career.
An impressed Girubuntu admitted that, “I am very happy that I finished seventh because it was not easy. I was able to apply everything that I have been learning in the past month. I intend to get better with time.”
Girubuntu lost six seconds after taking a wrong turn because the course was not clearly marked but nevertheless, she made it to the top half in an event that attracted 18 women from eight countries including Algeria, Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Africa, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
U-23 category - 48km
1. Kudus Merhawi (Eritrea) - 1:05:08
2. Valens Ndayisenga (Rwanda) - 1:07:09
3. Barbari Adil (Algeria) - 1:10:02
General Classification - 48km
1. Tsgabu Grmay (Ethiopia) - 1:03:05
2. Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea) - 1:03:22
3. Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (South Africa) - 1:03:42
7. Valens Ndayisenga (Rwanda) - 1:07:09
10. Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwanda) - 1:09:04
Women - 24km
1. Ashleigh Pasio (South Africa) - 38:19
2. Heidi Dalton (South Africa) - 40:55
3. Aurelia Halbwachs (Mauritius) - 41:04
5. Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu (Rwanda) - 41:23