Rwanda’s men athletics team arrived in the Ugandan capital of Kampala on Friday ahead of this year’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships slated for Sunday at Kololo Independence Ceremonial Grounds.
The six-man team left the country on Friday afternoon aboard a RwandAir flight led by coach Emmanuel Havugimana. The team will be hoping for an improved performance compared to their showings during previous editions.
Rwanda has never won a medal at the World Cross Country Championships.
The six athletes include; James Sugira, the reigning national cross country champion; Alex Nizeyimana; Jean Marie Vianney Myasiro; Premien Manirafasha; David Gakuru; and Siraji Rubayita.
Havugimana said the team’s main objective is to surpass the country’s previous performances at the biennial event and possibly finish in the top six positions.
“Our objective is to win but we know it is going to be really very difficult because we’re going to compete against the very best in the world. I am optimistic we can put on a better performance than previously,” Havugimana told Times Sport before the team’s departure.
Rwanda will compete in only the men’s senior category after the mixed relay team was removed due to limited funds, according to the Rwanda Athletics Federation officials.
At the last edition held in the Chinese city of Guiyang, Rwanda finished eighth as Ethiopia (9 medals) and Kenya (7) dominated the one-day event. Bahrain and Uganda finished third and fourth, respectively, with one medal (bronze) apiece.
Kampala is the fourth city in Africa to host the IAAF World Cross Country Championships after Rabat, Morocco (1975), Marrakech, Morocco (1998) and Mombasa, Kenya (2007).
Aarhus of Denmark will stage the 43rd edition.