Following his quiet debut performance at the just-concluded 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Rwanda’s first rising athlete James Sugira says he drew positive lessons from the biennial competition.
He says the lessons learned will be crucial for him in future competitions.
The 20-year-old reigning national cross country champion was among the six athletes that represented Rwanda at the 42nd edition that was held at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala, Uganda.
He held Rwanda’s most hopes for their first ever medal at the competition.
Nonetheless, with the likes of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea dominating the one-day event, the Rwandans returned home empty-handed finishing in the 10th place in the senior men’s category, the only category where the country had been represented.
In the end, Sugira was Rwanda’s best performer finishing in the 48th place in 30’:54” while team captain Alexis Nizeyimana came in the 54th place posting 31’:11” with Premien Manirafasha coming in 57th place in 31’:19”.
David Gakuru came in 60th place clocking 31’:26”, Jean Marie Vianney Myasiro posted 31’:36” to finish 66th, while Siragi Rubayita crossed the finish line in 106th position using 33’:54”.
“It was not a performance I wanted, neither the entire team, but given the level and quality of the athletes we competed against, I really think it was a decent performance from the team,” said Sugira.
He added: “It wasn’t my first time at Kololo grounds but this time the terrain had completely changed but that can’t be an excuse; what I learnt is that we are still behind in almost all aspects, our performance clearly showed not only lack of experience on our part but also exposed our inadequate preparations and that’s what I am going to improve on, I have to make training my daily routine and not wait to train three weeks to the competition.”
Rwanda was the least ranked country in the East African region.
Team Rwanda finished in the 10th place, worse off than their performance at the previous edition that was held in Guiyang, China where they finished in eighth.
Kenya topped the medals table with 12 (4 gold, 5 silver, and 3 bronze), followed by Ethiopia with nine medals (4 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze), while hosts Uganda came in third with three (1 gold and 2 bronze).