RWANDA’S 10,000m champion Dieudonne Disi is short of peak condition, according to his coach Innocent Rwabuhihi.
After a three-month layoff due to a sore hamstring, Disi returns to the track at the end of this month for the Africa Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.
Rwabuhihi concedes that the 29-year-old, who is making a fourth appearance in the event is ‘far away from being in the shape’ that saw him win several events in 2009.
But, while concurring with his coach, Disi believes he will be back to his best in time for the Lille championship in September and the highly coveted Delhi Commonwealth Games in October.
“I’m not there right now, but with lots of practise, I can get back to my best,” he said.
Disi, though, was slightly more ambitious in his assessment of what the future held - specifically, that bettering his personal best 27:22 seconds in 10,000m was a real prospect.
On his debut in the African Championship, he finished 13th before missing out on a podium slot in 2004 (Congo Brazzaville) and 2007 (Algeria) when he finished 4th.
Disi is currently training in the hilly terrains of Masaka and Gicumbi.
Meanwhile, one notable absentee from the event is World 800m champion Caster Semenya. The South African female athlete has only just returned on the track after being cleared by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The 19-year-old shot to prominence in winning the gold medal at the World Championships in Berlin in a time of one minute, 55.45 seconds.
Her rapid improvements over the distance prompted speculation over her gender; however, following the completion of their testing procedure, IAAF cleared the teenager to compete again last Tuesday.
This year’s edition is set for July 28-August 1 at Nyayo Stadium.
Besides Rwanda and hosts (Kenya), other countries that have confirmed participation include Ethiopia, South Africa, Cape Verde, Chad, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, Senegal, Comoros, Gambia, Seychelles, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Congo Brazzaville, Burundi, Gabon, Morocco, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Eritrea, Togo, Swaziland, Egypt, Liberia, Gambia, Benin, Central Africa Republic, Mauritius, Zambia, Malawi, Algeria and Tunisia.
D. Disi (10,000m), Eric Sebahire (5000m), Gervais Hakizimana (3000m), Joseph Nzirorera (1500m), Potien Ntawuyirushintege (800m), steeple chase) and 4*400m relay runners of Thimote Bagina, Moussa Bizimana, Hermas Muvunyi and Emmanuel Ntakirutimana and the sprinting trio of Emmanuel Havugimana (100m), Said Hamisi (200m) and Thimote Bagina (400m).
wo-time Olympian Epiphanie Nyirabarame (10000m), Claudette Mukasakindi (5000m), Jeanne d’Arc Uwamahoro (400m) and Sophie Kanakuze (100m & 200m).