Female athletes Honorine Iribagiza and Beatha Nishimwe have started non-residential preparations ahead of the forthcoming 13th edition of African Junior (U20) Athletics Championships that will be held from June 29 to July 2, in Tlemcen, Algeria.
Iribagiza and Nishimwe will represent the country at the biennial continental event that was first held in 1994. Only athletes aged 19 or under are eligible to compete.
The 18-year-old Iribagiza will compete in the 800m while Nishimwe, 19, will compete in the 1500m. Iribagiza qualified during last year’s East African Junior Athletics Championships in Dar-es-Salaam.
She won a silver medal in the women’s 800m race after clocking two minutes and seven seconds, which is three seconds below the minima time.
Her compatriot Nishimwe qualified during last year’s Africa Athletics Senior Championships that was held in Durban, South Africa.
Nishimwe, who was debuting in a senior competition, was unlucky as she failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, by just two seconds.
She finished 7th after using four minutes and eight seconds—the standard time being four minutes and six seconds.
However, this performance gave her the ticket to participate at this year’s African Junior Athletics Championships, whose minima (qualification) time is four minutes and 29 seconds.
“They have begun daily training and they are responding positively, we aim to win medals and we believe these early preparations will help them strengthen their rhythm and get them into the mood for the competition,” said national team head coach, Anicet Kanyabugoyi.