Men’s Marathon: Ambroise Uwiragiye 2:30pm
Cycling Mt. Bike: Nathan Byukusenge 5:30pm
The 2016 Rio Olympic Games comes to a climax today after 16 days of record breaking, history making and last minute disappointments by over 11,000 athletes competing in 306 sets of medals of the 28 Olympic sports that featured.
Still waiting for a first Olympic medal, Rwanda which fielded seven athletes with five failing to impress in their campaigns, will be hoping to have something to cheer for when Ambroise Uwiragiye (men’s marathon) and cyclist Nathan Byukusenge (Mt. Bike race) making their Olympic debuts today.
The 36-year-old Uwiragiye, who based in the Netherlands, will be the first on the Rio roads at 2:30pm in the men’s 42km race that will attract a total of 162 competitors.
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 has five consecutive wins in top-class races to his name.
The other man on many people’s list of potential gold medalist – is Kenya’s Stanley Biwott, who followed Kipchoge home in London Marathon in April.
On the other hand, Byukusenge, also 36, takes it to the men’s Cross Country Mountain Bike race that starts at 5:30pm on a man-made course constructed at the Deodoro Olympic Park.
The 4.85km course set to attract 50 riders has been touted as fast and technical, but it will be the afternoon heat that will challenge the riders the most tackling the course over seven laps.
While well-established racers like Nino Schurter (Switzerland), Julian Absalon (France), and Annika Langvad (Denmark) are expected to star. There will be plenty of attention on Peter Sagan as he takes on the cross country event, representing Slovakia.
At 2012 London Olympics, Jaroslav Kulhavý from Czech Republic won gold using 1:29:07 followed by Nino Schurter from Switzerland clocking 1:29:08 while Marco Aurelio Fontana from Italy settled for a bronze medal posting 1:29:32.
Rwanda’s debutant Adrien Niyonshuti finished in penultimate place, out of the 40 athletes who managed to complete the course.