JOSEPH Areruya, the reigning African cyclist of the year, will be seeking to strike gold medals as he leads Team Rwanda at the All-Africa Games 2019 in Morocco.
Rwanda will be represented by an all-male quartet at the 12th All-Africa Games, led by Areruya who – at club level – features for French side Delko–Marseille Provence.
The quartet left the country for Morocco aboard a Qatar Airways flight on Tuesday, with Felix Sempoma as their head coach.
At the multidisciplinary event, which has attracted 6000 athletes from all African countries, road cycling competitions will start on Saturday and run through August 29.
Besides star rider Areruya, the team also comprises Moise Mugisha, Didier Munyaneza and Jean Claude Nzafashwanayo who won the DR Congo Tour (Tour de la RDC) last week.
In an interview before the team’s departure on Tuesday, Sempoma told Times Sport that the four riders will race Team Time Trial (TTT) on Saturday before Areruya and Mugisha vie for honours in Individual Time Trial (ITT) on August 26.
After the ITT, all the four will again hit the road on August 29 as they will be attempting to retain the country’s gold medal, which was won by Janvier Hadi during the 2015 All-Africa Games in Congo-Brazzaville.
“All the riders are fit for the tough mission. Our goal in Morocco is to win medals in different categories, and particularly to retain gold in men’s elite road race,” said Sempoma.
Areruya and Munyaneza flew to Morocco on the back of a three-week intensive training in Japan, Mugisha is fresh from a five-week long series of races in Europe while 19-year old Nzafashwanayo has been equally busy with his club, Benediction Excel Energy.
Of the four riders, only Areruya was part of the team that represented the country at the 11th All-Africa Games in 2015.