Men's 50m freestyle heats
Eloi Imaniraguha 6:08pm
Athletics women’s 10,000m final
Salome Nyirarukundo 4:10pm
After a modest start by Rwandan athletes at the 2016 Rio competitions last Saturday, swimmer Eloi Imaniraguha takes to the pool today in the men’s 50m freestyle heats at the Olympics Aquatics Centre, in Barra Olympic Park.
The 21-year-old Imaniraguha was the first Rwandan athlete to arrive in Rio de Janeiro on July 28 and will be making his debut at the world’s biggest sporting event.
The Karongi district-born swimmer, who has a personal best time of 25 seconds in this category, over three seconds behind the Olympic qualification minima (22.27), will compete in heat 4 along seven other swimmers, vying for a slot in tomorrow’s semi-finals.
“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for in my life, I arrived here a bit early to adapt ahead of the competition, I want to give all I can to qualify for the semi-finals and possibly reach the final,” Imaniraguha toldTimes Sport on Wednesday.
Imaniraguha flew to Rio from Phuket, Thailand where he had been training for the past 12 months under the Olympics Solidarity Fund programme.
He added that: “I have had a great opportunity to undergo excellent preparations in Thailand for the past 12 months and I feel I have made significant improvement.”
Imaniraguha will swim in Lane 2, alongside Burundian Billy-Scott Irakoze (Lane1), Nigeria’s Samson Opuakpo (Lane 3), Hilal Hemed Hilal (Lane 4) from Tanzania, Farhan (Lane 5) from Behran, Ugandan Joshua Ekirikubinza Tibatemwa (Lane 6), Giordan Harris (Lane7) from Marshall Islands and Tajikistan’s Olim Kurbanov (Lane 8).
The competition has a total of 11 heats, each comprising of eight swimmers.
Team Rwanda started the Rio Olympics campaign on a wrong footing after team captain Adrien Nyonshuti failed to finish the men’s 236km cycling road race while swimmer Johannah Umurungi only finished 44th out of 45 in the women’s 100m butterfly heats.