Nishimwe gears up for 2018 African Athletics Champs

Beatha Nishimwe says she is training hard to raise the country’s flag in African Championships next month in Nigeria. Sam Ngendahimana.

Female middle distance runner Beatha Nishimwe has embarked on her final preparations for the forthcoming 21st edition of African Athletics Senior Championships in Nigeria.

This year’s continental championships are scheduled for August 1-5 at the Asaba Township Stadium in the Delta State, Nigeria.

The 19-year old runner together with Salome Nyirarukundo are the only athletes that will carry Rwanda’s flag at the biennial continental showpiece that will also provide entry standard time to African athletes for the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup.

Nishimwe will compete in women’s 1,500 metres while Nyirarukundo will race the women’s 10,000 metres.

Both athletes attained the entry standard time at this year’s Commonwealth Games staged from April 4-15 in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia where they were part of Team Rwanda.

Nishimwe clocked 4 minutes and 14 seconds, beating the minima time of 4 minutes and 21 seconds to qualify for the biennial event.

“I am training hard for the competition, I do daily sessions at Amahoro Stadium and I would say so far so good. I hope to do well and probably qualify for the IAAF continental Cup,” the youngster told Times Sport on Wednesday.

This will be her second appearance in African Championships following her 2016 debut in Durban, South Africa where she recorded her personal best of 4 minutes, 8 seconds and 75 microseconds despite missing out on a ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games by just one second.

“It is a tough competition that requires extraordinary preparations but I believe I will have a better performance this time and set another personal best,” she added.

Meanwhile, her compatriot and the Kigali International Peace Half Marathon champion, Nyirarukundo, is training in Kenya since late May.

In 2016, 20-year old Nyirarukundo also made her debut in Durban, finishing fourth in the women 10,000m after clocking 31:45:82, well below the minima time of 32 minutes and 15 seconds to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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