Beatha Nishimwe – 11:35am
Salome Nyirarukundo – 12:35pm
1. Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei (Uganda) – 13:50:83
2. Mohammed Ahmed (Canada) – 13:52:78
3. Edward Pingua Zakayo (Kenya) – 13:54:06
7. James Sugira – 14:03:51
14. Christophe Tuyishimire – 14:39:29
RWANDA international middle and long-distance runner, Salome Nyirarukundo is hopeful for a historic podium finish when she races in the women’s 10,000 metres this afternoon at the XXI Commonwealth Games.
Making her third consecutive appearance in the quadrennial event, Rwanda is represented by a total of 17 athletes vying for honors in four different disciplines namely beach volleyball, cycling, athletes and powerlifting.
To write history as Rwanda’s first athlete to win a medal in Commonwealth Games, Nyirarukundo, 20, will have to overcome stiff challenge from Kenya’s trio of Sandrafelis Chebet Tuei, Stacy Ndiwa and Beatrice Mutai.
The women’s 10,000m final, that kicks off at 12:35pm, is a 19-athlete start-list representing twelve different countries. While the hosts Australia, giants Kenya and neighbours Uganda, all have three representatives each, Rwanda only has one athlete in the race – Nyirarukundo.
Nyirarukundo, the reigning women’s half-marathon champion in Kigali International Peace Marathon, competes in the women’s 10,000 metres race looking to improve her two-year old 31:45:82 personal best.
Exclusively talking to Times Sport on Sunday from Australia, Nyirarukundo admitted she expects a tough race but also noted she feels fit and confident,
“It is going to be a tough race with almost everyone on the start-list fighting for the same thing – a medal. I am fit and ready, I am targeting a podium finish and I will do everything possible to accomplish it.”
Nyirarukundo represented Rwanda at the 2016 Summer Olympics in in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where she finished 27th on a 37-runner start-list in women’s 10,000 metres, clocking 32 meters 7 seconds and 80 microseconds.
The APR athletics club sensation Nyirarukundo made history last year, when she became the first Rwandan to win the women’s half-marathon at the Kigali International Peace Marathon.
Sugira misses podium finish by 10 seconds
Meanwhile, Rwandan youngster James Sugira finished in the 7th place in men’s 5,000 metres, missing the bronze medal by 10 seconds.
Sugira, 21, used fourteen minutes, 3 seconds and 51 microseconds, 10 seconds and 45 microseconds behind Kenya’s Edward Pingua Zakayo who scooped bronze.
Uganda’s Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei claimed gold in 13:50:83 while Mohammed Ahmed of Canada trailed him by two seconds to win silver.
Another Rwandan debutant in Commonwealth Games, Christophe Tuyishimire, managed 14th spot on the 17-man start-list after clocking 14 minutes, 39 and 29 microseconds.
At the two-week long multidiscipline competitions with over 6,600 athletes from 70 countries, Rwanda is represented by six runners in athletics.
Apart from Nyirarukundo, others are; Alexis Nizeyimana in full-marathon, Tuyishime and Sugira in men’s 5000m category, Beatha Nishimwe (1500m) as well as Alice Ishimwe in women’s 800m race.
The 21st edition of the international multi-sport event kicked-off on April 4 and will run through to April 15 in Gold Coast, Queensland – Australia.