October 14: Dar Rotary Half Marathon
RWANDA’s teenage female long distance runner, Salome Nyirarukundo is in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania to defend her gold medal title at the 2016 Dar Rotary Marathon set for October 14.
Yesterday, the 19-year-old defending champion travelled with compatriot Eric Sebahire who will be competing in the men’s category.
The 21.1km race will attract elite athletes from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda and hosts Tanzania.
Speaking to Times Sport before taking off on Tuesday, the fast rising female athlete, fresh from scooping this year’s female athlete of the year award, said she is confident and optimistic to retain her title.
“I believe I will retain my gold medal because I prepared enough and I have been privileged to get more experience from different international competitions including the Olympic Games that helped me improve compared to last year,” said Nyirarukundo
The Rutsiro District born athlete was the only Rwandan to make it to the podium in the Kigali International Peace Half Marathon, winning a silver medal this year.
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.
On her debut in Rio Olympics, Nyirarukundo did not impress after finishing 27th out 35 participants, who finished the race, clocking 32:07:80.
In last year’s Dar Rotary Half Marathon, Nyirarukundo won the women’s race after posting one hour and 11 minutes, beating stiff competition from Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes.
In the men’s category, Alexis Nizeyimana finished in 10th position in a time of 1h3’ 51”; Potien Ntawuyirushintenge came in 15th place in a time of 1h4’00” while Robert Kajuga was 18th after clocking 1h5’00.” Tanzanian Emmanuel Giniki took the gold medal after he clocked 1 hour and 2 minutes.
On top of medals, the winner in both categories will walk away with Tsh3m (Rwf 1.1m), the runner up will bag Tshs2m (Rwf736, 937) and the third runner up will get Tsh1m (Rwf368, 468.59).