Rwanda Athletics Federation (RAF) has vowed to line up a very strong team of athletes for the forthcoming 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships slated for March 26 in Uganda’s capital Kampala as Rwanda hunts for the first ever medal at the biennial event.
The remarks were made by the Federation’s Secretary General Johnson Rukundo in an exclusive interview with Times Sport after a non-convincing display by the local trio at the 2017 Uganda Cross Country Championship that was held on Saturday last week at the independence ceremonial grounds Kololo.
The 10km championship which was staged by the hosts as a last warm up event ahead of the world show piece involved four Rwandans in the men’s senior category namely James Sugira, Primien Maniramfasha, Alexis Nizeyimana and Jean Marie Vianney Myasiro who are highly expected to top the final selection list set to be released early next month.
Ugandans, led by Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei (Winner) clocking 29 min 02 seconds and 29 microseconds, Phillip Kipyeko (first runner up) posted 29:24:29 and Abdallah Kibet Mande (third place) with 29:40:29 dominated their own race claiming the first 14 positions.
Sugira was Rwanda’s best performer coming in the 15th place clocking 30:37:30 while Manirafasha came in the 21st place using 30:59:30, Nizeyimana finished in the 23rd posting 31:09:31 with Myasiro coming in the 29th place clocking 31:26:31. A total of 56 athletes participated in the race.
“It was a good performance compared to the Ugandan athletes who had been in a camp for a while and we intended to show our athletes the itinerary which will be the same in the main event, we surely anticipate better results,” said Rukundo
He further noted; “we have been in the top ten all the time in the world classification. Cross country is one of the events we perform in very well, in the last edition we were number 8 globally but we shall be aiming to be back in top 6 and below this time around.”
During the last edition in the Chinese city of Guiyang, Rwanda was represented by four athletes, namely; Pontien Ntawuyirushintege, Jean Marie Uwajeneza, Felicien Muhitira and Eric Sebahire.