RWANDA athletics team defied odds to finish a notable sixth position in the world at the 20th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships held yesterday in Kavarna, north-eastern Bulgaria.
On his debut, Olympian Robert Kajuga finished atop of his teammates, grabbing a 12th place finish after clocking one hour, two minutes and 22 seconds to lead Rwanda to a sixth place finish overall.
Cyriaque Ndayikengurukiye managed a personal best after clocking one hour, four minutes and five seconds to finish a distant 22nd.
Jean Marie Vianney who was also making his maiden debut also clocked a personal best of one hour, six minutes and seven seconds to finish in 38th position.
Veteran runner Slyvain Rukundo finished 53rd to ensure that Rwanda finishes sixth in team category.
Team Rwanda earned $3000 as cash prize from the international athletics federation (IAAF) in the world championships team contest. Kenya won the team category followed by Eritrea, Ethiopia, USA and Uganda in the men’s category.
Meanwhile, Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese lived up to his moniker of ‘Mr. Half Marathon’ after collecting his fifth World road running title in Bulgaria.
Running in hot and humid conditions, Tadese clocked 1:00:19, 32 seconds ahead of Deressa Chimsa of Ethiopia, to regain the title he won in four consecutive Championships from 2006 to 2009. John Nzau Mwangangi of Kenya took bronze.
In a thrilling finish, Meseret Hailu outsprinted her teammate Feyse Tadese over the final 50 metres to score an upset victory in the women’s race clocking 1:08:55.
The pair led Ethiopia to a surprise victory in the women’s race over defending champions Kenya, with Japan taking team bronze.
Iaaf World Half Marathon
Individual rankings, Yesterday
1. Z. Tadese (Eri) 1:00:19
2. D. Chimsa (Eth) 1:00:51 (PB)
3. J. Nzau Mwangangi (Ken) 1:01:01
12. R. Kajuga (Rwa) 1:02:22
22. C. Ndayikengurukiye (Rwa) 1:04:05 (PB)
38. J. M Uwajeneza (Rwa) 1:06:07 (PB)
53. S. Rukundo (Rwa) 1:07:44
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