After being crowned this year’s Female Athlete of the Year, Salome Nyirarukundo has vowed to defend her Dar Rotary Half Marathon title—this year’s race is scheduled for October 14 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The highly rated 18-year old long distance runner was last week announced by Rwanda Athletics Federation (RAF) as the best female of 2016 while 20-year-old Emmanuel Ntakiyimana took the male award.
The duo collected the highest individual performance points last season, according to the results released by International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).
Nyirarukundo, who is attached to APR Athletics Club, was the only Rwandan to make it to the podium in the Kigali International Peace Half Marathon, winning a silver medal.
She also made her debut in the Africa Senior Athletics Championship that was held in June in Durban, South Africa where she finished fourth in the 10,000m and qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
In July, she competed at the IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships held in Poland finishing 13th after clocking 15:57:68 hence beating her own national record of 15:57:80 set on March 13, 2016, by 12 micro-seconds.
In Rio, Nyirarukundo did not impress though finishing 27th out 35 participants, who finished the race, clocking 32:07:80.
Nonetheless, the Rutsiro-born athlete still managed to come first in the IAAF yearly rankings, with a total of 1168 points followed by 18-year-old Beatha Nishimwe, who collected 1142 points while Honorine Iribagiza, 17, came in third place with 1118 points.
“I have had a great season, competing and wining various international competitions which has greatly developed my career, my focus now is the Dar Rotary half marathon where I want to defend my title,” said Nyirarukundo
Eric Sebahire will compete in the men’s category after winning bronze medal at the Brazzaville Half Marathon that took place on August 15 in Congo-Brazzaville, posting 1:05:36.