Duo cry foul for lack of facilitation in preps for World Championships

Felicien Muhitira (L) and Clementine Mukandanga will both compete in full marathon at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Qatar. File.

Rwanda’s long distance runners Felicien Muhitira and Clementine Mukandanga have slammed the local athletics body (RAF) for lack of facilitation in their preparations ahead of the 17th World Athletics Championships.

The 2019 edition of the world’s biggest athletics meet is scheduled for September 26 through October 6 in Doha, Qatar.

Speaking to Times Sport on Tuesday, Muhitira argued that RAF has turned a blind eye on him, and is yet to be sure if he will take part in the world championships with just 15 days to go.

“So far I have not received any support from RAF, it’s frustrating,” Muhitira told this publication. “I have been left on my own, and I am even not sure yet if I will travel to Qatar.”

In November last year, the two athletes qualified for this year’s world championships following their impressive performance at the Firenze Marathon in Italy. Muhitira clocked 2 hours and 14 minutes to finish fifth, whereas Mukandanga used 2 hours, 30 minutes and 50 seconds to strike bronze.

While Muhitira has been doing personal training in Ngoma, his home village, Mukandanga is expected in the country from Italy on Wednesday.

By press time Tuesday, the athletics body was yet to communicate with the runners about possibilities for residential camp training – which all national teams are usually entitled to before representing the country in international competitions.

“She (Mukandanga) told me that she has been repeatedly writing to RAF in vain. I think we deserve better, the treatment we are receiving from the federation is really demoralizing.”

However, in a separate interview, RAF secretary general, Olivier Umutangana rejected Muhitira’s claims as ‘total lies’.

“They both have been informed of plans in the pipeline. We are going to help them in training, and with everything regarding  their travel to Qatar.”

He further emphasized that training from Ngoma was Muhitira’s decision; and the federation will support him from there to get ready in the best way possible.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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