Girubuntu misses podium finish by microseconds

It was sheer heartbreak when Team Rwanda rider Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu fell short of a medal yesterday in the women’s individual time trial at the ongoing All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.
Jeanne d'Arc Girubuntu gets ready to go in the women's individual time trial on Friday. (Courtesy)
Jeanne d'Arc Girubuntu gets ready to go in the women's individual time trial on Friday. (Courtesy)

Women’s individual time trial

 1. Mosana Debesay (Erit) 18:01.00

2. Wehazit Kidane (Erit) 18:05.07

3.  Lise Olivier (S.A) 18:06.57

4. Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu (Rwa) 18:07.04

It was sheer heartbreak when Team Rwanda rider Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu fell short of a medal yesterday in the women’s individual time trial at the ongoing All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.

Girubuntu, who is Rwanda’s sole female representative at the continental multisport event, clocked 18:07.04 to finish fourth, seven microseconds behind third placed Lisa Olivier of South Africa and seven seconds behind eventual winner Mosana Debesay of Eritrea.

Kidane Wehazit of Eritrea settled for second after posting 18:05.07 in the one lap circuit of 12.5km yesterday morning in Brazzaville.

 “Girubuntu came very close to winning a medal. It is the first time I am this hurt in my long cycling career. This really hurts. She cannot stop crying. She is extremely hurt that she came short by just microseconds. She really did well,” explained a distraught Felix Sempoma, coach of the national side. The 19-year old Rwamagana-born rider has been training at the World Cycling Center in Aigle, Switzerland.

She will represent Rwanda at the World Cycling Championships in Richmond, Virginia in the USA from September 19-27, becoming the first Rwandan female rider to ever compete at the international stage.

Meanwhile, in the men’s category, Janvier Hadi clocked 15:48.81 to finish eighth while Valens Ndayisenga settled for 10th after posting 15:55.14, 40.53 seconds behind gold medallist Meron Hagos Teshome of Eritrea (15:14.61).

South Africa’s Gustav Basson (15:18.48) and Adil Barbari of Algeria (15:26.96) bagged silver and bronze respectively in a field that had 45 riders from 21 countries.

Girubuntu will take to the field today in the women’s road race competition where she faces yet another tough challenge as she is a lone rider while the other countries will line up teams.

Rwanda has only won one medal at the 11th edition of the All Africa Games which was in the men’s team time trial on Thursday after a spectacular performance from Hadi, Ndayisenga, Jean Bosco Nsengimana and Joseph Aleluya.

 

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