Men’s Marathon: Ambroise Uwiragiye 2:30pm
Cycling Mt. Bike: Nathan Byukusenge 5:30pm
Rwandan athletes Ambroise Uwiragiye (men’s marathon) and cyclist Nathan Byukusenge (Mt. Bike race) touched base in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday ahead of their respective competitions due on Sunday, which will also be the final day of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The 36-year-old Uwiragiye arrived in Rio from the Netherlands where he has been based since 2010, while Byukusenge, also 36, left Rwanda on Monday. Both will be making their Olympics debut, and it will probably be their last, given their advanced age. By Tokyo 2020, the two will be 40 years old.
“This is my first Olympics as a professional athlete, and I feel no pressure at all, I may not win but I want to challenge to the last, and to set the best time possible,” Uwiragiye told Times Sport on arrival at the Olympic Village.
The Huye-born athlete added that: “Of course, competing in the Olympics will definitely give me valuable experience that I can use in future competitions.”
Debutant Uwiragiye will compete alongside Uganda’s Olympic defending champion Stephen Kiprotich, as well as Kenyan duo of Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, who won Silver and Bronze four years ago in London.
Others are Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who has been the dominant marathon runner in the world since the start of 2014 and now has five consecutive wins in top-class races to his name and the next man on many people’s list of potential gold medallists – is his compatriot Stanley Biwott, who followed Kipchoge home in London Marathon in April.
On the other hand, Byukusenge, before departure, said that: “My aim is to complete the race in the shortest time I can possibly manage, and I believe I have the potential to do so. I will be up against the best mountain bike racers in the world, but I am not worried whatsoever.”