‘Just give me a chance’

Hakizimana vows to gain access to the Delhi Games AFTER being axed from the national team, France-based 3,000m steeplechase runner Gervais Hakizimana has vowed to participate in this year’s Delhi Commonwealth Games without the blessing of his federation, if need be.
Gervais Hakizimana crosses the finish line on his way to winning a past event in France.
Gervais Hakizimana crosses the finish line on his way to winning a past event in France.

Hakizimana vows to gain access to the Delhi Games

AFTER being axed from the national team, France-based 3,000m steeplechase runner Gervais Hakizimana has vowed to participate in this year’s Delhi Commonwealth Games without the blessing of his federation, if need be.

Hakizimana said on Tuesday, from his training camp in France, “I beg the local organizing committee to give me accreditation to enable me to compete in the commonwealth Games. I have to be there whether the federation likes it or not.”

“I am in good form and there is no way I can skip this major championship, with all the resources that I have used in preparation.

“I have not been told the reason behind my axing, therefore the claims purporting that I refused to report to camp are false. I never refused to report to camp but the sole reason for my absence is that there were no training facilities in Rwanda which I could use to prepare effectively for the 3,000m steeplechase,” said Hakizimana.

Hakizimana added, “What I need is support from the organizing committee to assist me with travel documents. I don’t need their airfare, I will pay for it to show my determination to try and win a medal in the Games. I have chances of winning a medal and that’s why I want to participate in these Games.”

Hakizimana and Claudette Mukasakindi are two athletes stripped of their slots on the traveling team after they reportedly failed to return and train with other athletes in Kigali.

However, the athletics federation Secretary General, Jack Ngabonziza, has insisted that Hakizimana was axed because they are not assured if he is training well on his own or not.

“If he thinks he can force himselfointo the Delhi competitions then that will be at his own risk. We are only considering able and fit athletes for the Games.

“He was struck off the list because we were not convinced that he was really training; and that’s why we wanted him to return, and train from Kigali,” said Ngabonziza.

Ngabonziza noted that the local organising committee will not give Hakizimana the accreditation he is requesting without the federation’s approval, meaning that it is impossible for the French-based athlete to feature on Rwanda’s team.

The team departs this weekend for New Delhi, India, the venue for the Games. The Games are slated to run from October 3 to 14.

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