Long distance runner Felicien Muhitira will go into this year’s third edition of Bugesera 20km race on Sunday on Nyamata, seeking to defend his title – the race is organized by Gasore Serge Foundation.
Muhitira, who has been to Italy since early April, returned to the country on Tuesday and says he is ready to retain his gold medal.
The Rwanda international told Sunday Sport that he use the event as part of his preparations be returning to Italy to seek for minima to enable him to participate at this year’s IAAF World Championships slated for August 5 to 13 in London.
The 22-year-old athlete is targeting to qualify for the 16th edition of the prestigious biennale event in the men’s 10,000m and is currently 27 seconds behind the required minima. The entry standard time for men in the 10,000m is 27 minutes and 45 seconds.
“My priority target is qualifying for the World Championships, I have been to Italy and I have been involved in several competitions trying to chase it, as of today I’m 27 seconds off the mark but with the preparations am having, I believe I will be able to attain it,” said Muhitira.
Salome Nyirarukundo, fresh from winning this year’s Kigali International Peace half Marathon, is the only Rwandan athlete, who has so far qualified for the World Championships.
The 19-year old qualified to compete in the women’s 10,000m during her debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics Games where she finished on 27th position clocking 32:07.80
The entry standard in women 10,000m is 32 minutes and 15 seconds, valid from January 1, 2016 until July 23, 2017.
Meanwhile, this year’s Bugesera race will include three categories namely; 20km, 8km and 3km.
In last year’s edition, Claudette Mukasakindi won the women 15km race after clocking 54 minutes, 8 seconds and 82 microseconds while Muhitira produced an impressive display to win the men’s category in a time of 47 minutes, 59 seconds and 14 microseconds.