Rwanda’s international long distance runners Jean Baptiste Simukeka and Claudette Mukasakindi will next week travel to the Kenyan town of Iten for their final training phase ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics Games, scheduled for August 5-12 in Brazil.
The two were the first Rwandan athletes to qualify for the world’s most prestigious sporting event last year, and were joined by the Netherlands-based Ambroise Uwiragiye, who impressed in the NN Marathon in Rotterdam on Sunday.
In an exclusive interview with Times Sport, Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee (RNOSC) vice president Elie Manirarora confirmed that the duo will be given all the necessary support in their preparations.
They are expected to leave the country next week on Monday.
“Athletics is doing well as far as Rio qualification is concerned, so far we have three athletes officially confirmed to compete in the Olympics, so we have to support them as much as possible in their preparations,” Manirarora said on Wednesday.
He added that the two athletes will stay in Kenya until they jet off for Rio de Janeiro because there is no much time left to prepare adequately.
According to Manirarora, Mukasakindi, who is currently based in Italy, is expected to be in the country any time soon while Simukeka is already in the country.
“I travelled to the place (Iten) recently and I hope our athletes will improve significantly because all Kenya’s long distance runners train from there,” noted Manirarora, who is also the Chef de Mission for Team Rwanda at the Rio Olympics.
Mukasakindi qualified for Rio Olympics at the 2015 Firenze Marathon while Simukeka landed his ticket after impressing in Reggio Emilia Marathon.
Meanwhile, Uwiragiye will continue his preparations in the Netherlands, from where he will fly to Rio where he will be joined by the rest of the Rwandan delegation.
Apart from the three marathon runners, other Rwandans who have booked their tickets to Rio, include cyclists Nathan Byukusenge (Mountain Bike) and Janvier Hadi (Road).
Hermas Muvunyi (middle distance runner) and the national women sitting volleyball team have also qualified for the Rio Paralympic Games scheduled for September.