Rwanda’s fast-rising female long distance runner Salome Nyirarukundo has ended a decade-long jinx at the Kigali International Peace Marathon after winning the 21km gold on Sunday.
The 20-year old came into the race as the country’s main medal hopeful and she didn’t disappoint after putting on a stunning solo performance to claim gold beating a strong field comprising of Kenyans that had dominated the annual event in the previous 12 editions.
The former APR athlete posted one hour, 15 minutes and 28 seconds hence becoming the first Rwandan woman to strike gold, improving on the silver medal she won last year. Only Dieudonne Disi had won gold in the men’s half marathon in 2006.
The Rustiro-born athlete comfortably beat her closest contender Sheilla Chesang by a gap of almost five minutes—he Kenyan clocked one hour, 20 minutes and 24 seconds to settle for silver, whole Rwandan Claudette Mukasakindi claimed bronze after using one hour, 20 minutes and 36 seconds.
Meanwhile, Kenyans continued their dominancy of the full marathon in both men and women categories.
In the men’s category, Gilbert Chumba Kipleting won gold posting 2h:19’:49” ahead of his compatriots Edwin Kiyeng Kemboi (2h:19’:57”) while James Tallam claimed bronze in 2h:20’:00”.
Beatrice Rutto Jepkorir took gold n the women category using 2h:46’:38”, while Pamela Bundotich Chepkoech claimed silver posting 2h:47’:21” and Sarah Jerop Legat settled for bronze after clocking 2h:47’:24”.
In the men half marathon, Kenya’s Bartile Kipkoech Kipto won gold using 1h:04’:25”, Ezekiel Mutai Kimeli, also from Kenya took silver in 1h:05’:38 with Rwandan John Hakizimana scoopingbronze after posting 1h:05:48”.