50m freestyle, 1pm Live SS6
BEIJING - Rwanda’s medal persuit at the ongoing Beijing Olympic Games gets underway this evening in the 50m freestyle swimming competition at the national aquatics centre in Beijing, China.
Jackson Niyomugabo gets into the pool to battle for the one qualification slot in the preliminary round of the 50m free style event at 13hrs local time.
Niyomugabo has been drawn in Heat Three out of the thirteen competitive heats whose winners with the best times will qualify to the next stage.
The debut Olympian has made a tremendous improvement to his personal time since last week, cutting it from 29:00 seconds to 26:99 seconds.
Though he has made an improvement in his time, he has failed to close the gap on the world record of 21.28 seconds held by Australian Eamon Sullivan.
In the same heat, are Alisher Chingizov (TJK), Ibrahim Shameel (Moldovia), Mamadou Cisse (Guinea), Charlton Nyirenda (Malawi), Benjamin Dwayne Didon (Seychelles), Yahya Khaled Rushaka (Tanzania) and Mohammed Coulibaly (Mali).
Niyomugabo needs to put on a good performance that should inspire compatriot Pamela Girimbabazi who will also be competiting tomorrow in the women 50m freestyle at the same venue.
Girimbabazi (39:02) is grouped in Heat One along with three other competitors, Barry Djene (Guinea), Al Bitar Sameera (Bahrain) and Gloria Koussihouede (Benin).
Among the swimmers in her heat, Djene is the only recognised competitor by the world’s swimming body (FINA) while the rest including Girimbabazi are unknowns.
Though Girimbabazi’s time is a far cry from the world record of 23.97 held by Australian Libby Trickett, she’s favourite to qualify from her heat if she repeats the good performances she’s been doing in training.
Girimbabazi must post a good time in the heat stage in order as to reach the next stage with other winners from the other 11 heats. Coach Richard Ramira has tipped his swimmers to qualify from the group stages.
“They have what it takes to compete in such an event. They are capable of qualifying from the heat stages,” Ramira said.