African Championships: A Double for Areruya

Areruya Joseph in action

Rwanda’s and Africa’s newly ranked top cyclist Joseph Areruya displayed magical performances to win combined gold and bronze medals in the U-23 and elite men’s individual time trial (ITT) on day two of the 2018 African Continental Road Championship in Kigali, Rwanda.

The 13th Africa’s biggest annual cycling event got underway on Wednesday and will run through to February 18 in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

Areruya won gold in the men’s U-23 Individual Time Trial category after clocking fifty-four minutes and nineteen seconds (54’19) over a 40km distance to come ahead of the Ethiopian Ebrahim Redwan and MusieMehari Saymon of Eritrea who finished in the second and third slots.

Areruya’s best timing in the U-23 category also earned him a bronze medal in the men elite individual time trial category as finished ranked third overall, coming fifty four seconds behind Eritrean winner Debesay Mekseb and fifty one seconds behind fellow Team Rwanda teammate and former Tour du Rwanda champion Nsengimana Jean Bosco who won silver for Rwanda.

Eritrean star rider Mekseb Debesay’s victory in the ITT means that he has succeeded compatriot Meron Teshome in the 40-kilometer individual time trial of the African Continental Road Cycling Championships.

The 26-year-old Eritrean, already holder of the Eritrean national individual time trial title since June is finding it easy in the on-going championship thanks to his experience with the South African Dimension Data team picked from the World Tour which has helped him to excel especially at such distances that continental riders are not used to.

The Eritrean run all year long for the Dimension Data team often challenging Mark Cavendish, a feat which allowed him today to master his efforts throughout the event where the Rwandan duo of Nsengimana and Areruya, who had gone first half-way, lost nearly a minute in the second half.

Both the U23 and elite male riders in ITT raced to a distance of 40 kilometers and used an average speed of 45.202km per hour.

In the elite women individual time trial category, Eritrean Debesay Mossana edged Ethiopian duo of Amha Selam  and Genru Eyeru to win gold medal in 1:04:45.

In the junior categories held on Thursday morning, Eritreans proved once again their position as African cycling powerhouse by winning gold in both junior men and junior women’s Individual Time Trial (ITT).

Rwanda managed a silver medal courtesy of youngster Yves Nkurunziza who finished second in the male category, coming 56 seconds behind Eritrea’s Biniyam Ghirmay who clocked 26 minutes, 29 seconds and 36 microseconds to cover the 18.6km of the race. Compatriot Natan Medhanie claimed bronze in 27 minutes, 49 seconds and 22 microseconds.

In junior women’s fray, another Eritrean young cyclist Desiet Kidane bagged a gold medal for the Horn of African nation while Ethiopia’s duo of Tsadkan Kasahun and Zayid Hailu finished second and third to walk away with silver and bronze medals respectively.

Both junior male and female riders in ITT raced to a distance of 18.6 kilometers. The boys had an average speed of 41.8km per hour while their female counterparts rode at an average 35.4km/hour speed.

After the second day, hosts Rwanda won four medals including a gold in men’s U-23 ITT, two silver medals in elite men’s ITT and junior men’s ITT plus a bronze medal in the elite men’s ITT respectively. Rwanda has now won a combine eight medals after the second day of the Africa continental road championship which include two gold medals, four silver medaks and two bronze medals.

Cycling giants of Africa Eritrea claimed six medals on the second day including four gold medals in elite men’s ITT, elite women’s ITT, men’s junior ITT and women’s junior ITT and two bronze medals in men’s U-23 ITT and men’s junior ITT.

Eritrea tops the overall medal standing with 10 medals in which they have won six gold medals, one silver and three bronze medals and they are followed by Ethiopia who have a total 8 medals and are on joint with hosts Rwanda while Burundi (Silver), Namibia (Bronze) and Algeria (Bronze) have a medal each.

After Wednesday’s Team Time Trial (TTT) and Individual Time Trial races on Thursday, riders will have a day off on Friday before returning to action on Saturday with road race in junior categories and elite women.

The championship will conclude on Sunday with elite men’s road race.

 Africa Continental Championships:

Elite Men ITT Podium

  1. Debesay Mekseb (Eritrea) 53:25
  2. Nsengimana Jean Bosco (Rwanda) 54’16”
  3. Areruya Joseph (Rwanda) 54’19”

Men’s U23 ITT

  1. AreruyaJoseph (Rwanda) 54’19”
  2. Ebrahim Redwan (Ethiopia) 55’40”
  3. MusieMehari Saymon (Eritrea) 56’27”

Elite Women ITT

  1. Debesay Mosana (Eritrea) 01:04:45:59
  2. Amha Selam (Ethiopia) 01:04:58:99
  3. GEBRU Eyeru Tesfoam (Ethiopia) 01:06:10:48

 U23 women’s ITT

  1. Amha Selam (Ethiopia) 01:04:58:99
  2. Gebru Eyeru Tesfoam (Ethiopia) 01:06:10:48
  3. Gebrehiwet Tigisti (Eritrea) 01:06:43:92

Men Junior ITT

  1. Biniyam Ghirmay (Eritrea) 26:39:36
  2. Yves Nkurunziza (Rwanda) 27:35:55
  3. Natan Medhanie (Eritrea) 27:49:22

Women Junior ITT

  1. Kidane Desiet (Eritrea) 31’30’24
  2. Kasahun Tsadkan (Ethiopia) 33’11’89
  3. Hailu Zayid (Ethiopia) 34’04’29



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