The New Times (Kigali)

25 January 2013

Rwanda: RAF Set to Pick Poland Squad Today

RWANDA ATHLETICS Federation secretary general Johnson Rukundo confirmed that the provisional squad that will represent the country at this year's World Cross Country championships, to be held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, will be named today.

Speaking to Times Sport, Rukundo said, "We have the final trial session on Friday at Kigali golf club in Nyarutarama. We have held several trials in the past year and athletes are well aware that the last trial will be a decisive one."

"We expect to pick seven athletes for this year's World meet before sending them to Gicumbi high altitude area to enhance their training," added Rukundo on Thursday.

The official further noted that with Rwanda's participation increased from three to five athletes, the team will be targeting a fourth place finish.

It will be a close battle for the final slots from athletes like Robert Kajuga, Felix Ntirenganya, Posien Ntawuyirushintenge, Cyriaque Ndayikengurukiye, Eric Sebahire, Alexis Nizeyimana, Godfrey Rutayisire, Jean Marie Vianney Uwajeneza, Jean Baptista Simuceka and Leonidas Baganizi, who have all been in top form in recent days.

It is the technical staff comprised of coach Eric Karasira and former Olympian Mathias Ntawurikura, who will have part of the hectic work in picking the best out of the many entries lined up for the competition.

Last year, Rwanda missed out on the world event due to visa hitches.

In 2011, Rwanda's athletics team displayed poor show in the IAAF 39th World Cross Country Championship in Punta Umbria, Spain. Gervais Hakizimana emerged as Rwanda's best performer after finishing 33rd in the men's 12km race.

He clocked 35 minutes and 54 seconds, two minutes and four seconds behind new champion Imana Marga from Ethiopia. The country's other representative Eric Sebahire finished a distant 72nd.

Nonetheless, it was an improved performance from Hakizimana, who finished 42nd in 2009 (Amman) and 77th in 2007 (Mombasa).

In the women category, Claudette Mukasakindi and Angelline Nyiransabimana finished outside the top 30. The women category has been snubbed to represent the country to this year's event.

The 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships will take place on Sunday, March 24 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

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