Athletics: Sugira, Nyirarukundo appeal for support

RWANDA international youngsters, Salome Nyirarukundo and James Sugira have appealed for adequate support to adequately prepare for 2018 season.
Rwandan athletes James Sugira and Salome Nyirarukundo won  medals last week. S Ngendahimana.
Rwandan athletes James Sugira and Salome Nyirarukundo won medals last week. S Ngendahimana.

RWANDA international youngsters, Salome Nyirarukundo and James Sugira have appealed for adequate support to adequately prepare for 2018 season.

The duo of middle and long distance runners said they won silver medals at the 2017 Bitburger-Silvesterlauf in Trier held on December 30.

Making her second appearance at the annual international athletics festival, Nyirarukundo moved one step better from last year’s third place finish and the target is to win gold at the 2018 edition. The one-day event attracted over 1600 participants from 27 countries.

The women’s athletics sensation Nyirarukundo said,” It was out of a deep sense of patriotism and flying the country’s flag high that we managed to win medals. I believe we could have even won gold medals if we had better preparations.

“We raced against athletes with a better track record, more experienced and with a higher level of training. I would request authorities in charge to get us enough platforms for professional training so we can win more medals for the country. 2018 has a lot of international competitions , we can’t afford mediocre performances.”

Semi-marathon champion at the 2017 Kigali International Peace Marathon, Nyirarukundo (15:33’2’’) finished 15 seconds behind German Konstanze Klosterhalfen to cover the 5-kilometre race in the second place while compatriot Sugira ran the 8-kilometre men’s race in 23 minutes and 11 seconds, two seconds behind gold medalist Zouhair Talbi of Morocco.

In a separate interview, 19-year-old Sugira said the weather was also a challenge, “We competed in a very challenging weather, and it was very cold. Notably, we also lacked enough preparations. We can do much better on international scene if adequately prepared.”

Rwanda Athletics Federation (RAF) technical director Jean Pierre Ndacyayisenga who had accompanied the two athletes acknowledged the lack of enough preparations for Rwandan athletes and promised it will be solved in the near future after the ongoing construction of RAF training centre in Gicumbi district.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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