MTN RWANDA has injected US$77,000 (about Rwf53m) in the 10th edition of the MTN Kigali Peace Marathon scheduled for May 18.
The telecom company and Rwanda Athletics Federation also sealed a four-year partnership which will see MTN own the naming rights of the country’s biggest marathon.
“We are sponsoring this event with an aim of bolstering peace and reconciliation of our dear country Rwanda. We also know that sport is dominated by the youth. So we believe that through this platform, we can identify talent,” MTN Rwanda Chief Executive Officer, Ebenezer Twum Asante said during a press conference on Wednesday, at the telecom’s head office in Nyarutarama.
Asante noted that the sponsorship package has increased over ten-fold from Rwf5m in 2013 to Rwf53m this year.
The proceeds from the marathon will go toward rehabilitation of the former fighters through the Rwanda Demobilisation and Integration Commission.
International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) bid
Rwanda Athletics Federation president Jean Damascene Nkezabo lauded MTN’s support towards the event.
“We believe Kigali Peace Marathon will be recognised as an IAAF event. This sponsorship is aimed at developing athletics in the country and we believe we will have a long-term partnership with MTN,” Nkezabo said.
The theme of this year’s MTN Kigali Peace Marathon is “In the new world, we run together”.
To take part, Rwandans will pay a registration fee of Rwf2000, while foreigners will pay Rwf6000. The one-day event will have three categories– the full marathon – 42km, half marathon – 21km and the ‘run for fun’ – 5km.
Elite athletes from Burundi, Kenya, Eritrea, Djibouti, Uganda and Tanzania among others will compete in the full marathon – 42km while the half marathon will be exclusively for Rwandans.
This is the 10th edition of the event that is aspiring to become an internationally recognised marathon.
In last year’s edition, it was a Kenyan affair as they dominated all but the women half marathon categories. Barnabas Kipyego, Kilimo Julius Kipkorir and Limo Peter Kibet clinched the 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions respectively in the men’s full marathon.
Ethiopian Faye Mosjsa Dabele won the women’s category with compatriot Ayam Tigist Teshome coming in second. Kenya’s Fridah Jepkite Lodep finished third.
Robert Kajuga was the best Rwandan in half marathon race after finishing in third place.