ALL eyes will be on Epiphanie Nyirabarame this afternoon as she attempts to turn around Rwanda’s fortune at the 17th African Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.
The two-time Olympian will compete in the women’s 10000m alongside some of the world’s best in Melkamu Meselech (29.53.40), Tirunesh Dibaba (29.51.36) and Wude Ayalew (30.40.25) from Ethiopia and the Kenyan trio of Linet Masai (32.03.85), Pauline Korikwiang (32.28.69) and Doris Changeiywo (32.29.46).
The 29-year-old does not need to be reminded that she has to improve on her personal best time of 35.12.00 if she is to have a go at a podium finish at Nyayo stadium.
Nyirabarame who has had a couple of training sessions in Nairobi told Times Sport yesterday that she was feeling good ahead of the race.
“The track looks good and I hope to give my best tomorrow (today),” she said.
Some of the other athletes who will be on the track include Kemi Restituta (34.06.28), Rebeca Chacha (35.17.25) and Poline Chacha 34.52.03.
Earlier in the day, Rwanda’s 200m specialists Sophie Kanakuze (women) and Said Hamisi (men) and 1500m runner Joseph Nzirorera will try to qualify from their respective heats.
Nzirorera with a personal best time of 3.50.57 faces stiff competition from Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop (3.33.69), Silas Kiplagat (3.34.28) and Makhloufi Taoufik of Algeria (3.35.42) among others.
So far, everything has gone wrong for Rwanda. On top of Emmanuel Havugimana (100m), 400m pair of Jean d’Arc Uwamahoro and Timothy Bagina and 800m runner Potien Ntawuyirushintege all failing to qualify on Wednesday; Disi Dieudonne further compounded Rwanda’s misery when he pulled out of the 10000m at the last minute citing a nagging headache.