• Athletes call for Habineza’s intervention
• Disi quits training camp
• Not enough drinking water
The national team athletics bound for the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championship set for March 30 in Edinburgh, Scotland have complianed of dire living conditions in their residential camp in Ruhengeri, Northern Province.
The disturbing situation was revealed by team captain Gervais Hakizimana in an interview with Times Sport at the team’s training camp over the weekend.
According to him, such sub-standard training conditions can not guarantee neither him nor his teammates any chance to not only win something or even perform well against the world’s best athletes in Edinburg.
‘We’re living poorly, the conditions we’re training in are not anywhere near what is required to prepare someone going for a world championship.
‘To start with, we’re staying at a very congested domitory at Ruhengeri’s cathedral centre with poor sanitation and we find it being hazardous to our health,’ Hakizimana complained.
Initially, the team was staying at St. Cinfop hotel during the first week of residential training but was later shifted to the cathedral center by the athletics body yet no reason was given for the changes, something that leaves the athletes disappointed.
However, according to some of the athletes who prefered their identities not to be mentioned, the most disapointing factor is the way the coaches, Adolphe Rukenkanya and team doctor Patrick Rutamu have continued to stay in a more lavish hotel yet the athletes are left to suffer in poor coditions.
Both Rukenkanya and Rutamu are residing in a fully-fledged hotel connected with Dstv and other luxurious facilities reported to be worth Frw30.000 per night. Try to compare that with Frw5000 a night where the athletes are staying.
‘We were forced to take only a litre of (drinking) water per day during the first week at this camp (cathedal) but after we staged a strike, things change a little (to two litres) but we still think this is also not enough ,’ Hakizimana complined.
As a result, the athletes have called on Sport Minister Joseph Habineza to intervene and save them from the current demise.
The poor training conditions have forced the country’s major hope for a medal Dieudonne Disi to withdraw from the camp.
He said, ‘I can’t manage to reside in these conditions because they are affecting my performance standard.
‘I have been paying for my rent to a nearby (better) hotel for the past one week waiting for them (athletics federation officials) to intervene but all in vain. I had to leave the trainig camp.
‘Nonethelss, i’m still training regularly and whether they keep me on the team well and good but if they drop me, it’s their business,’ declared, Rwanda’s leading long disntace runner.
The 5000m, 10000m and half marathon national record holder has embarked on personal training in Kigali in preparation for the 10km race, which will be a week after the Edinburg World Cross Country Championship.
But the athletics federation Secretary General Appolinaire Munyangoga has denied the athletes’ poor training condition claims.
He said, “Changing camps came as a result of increased expenditures incurred at the first hotel, St. Cinfop hotel, where the team was staying’.
‘The (hotel) costs for a week (at St. Cinfop) had risen up to Frw1m for a week and the Cathedrar Center would costs about Frw2 millions for the rest of the training camp, so we had to go for the cheap option,’ Munyangoga explained.
And the SG further noted that there is no way Disi could be given a separate residential camp, ‘He is not different from other athletes. If he can’t stay with the rest, we can’t treat him in a special way’.