Burundi will participate in the 3rd African Cross Country Championship that will take place at Kampala in Uganda on 16th March 2014. For more details, Iwacu has met Egide Nitunga the Chairman of Burundi Athletics Fenestration- by Lorraine Josiane Manishatse
What does Cross Country mean?
Cross country is one of the events in athletics that consists of a mixed race across the fields or
open country rather than on main roads or tracks with a designed long distance varying from 4 to 12Km according to age categories and competition level.
Where and when is the competition to be held?
The competition will take place at Kampala in Uganda on 16 March 2014. It will be the 3rd African Cross Country Championship. Some time ago, the Cross Country Competitions were organized by the International Association Amateur Federation (IAAF) at the International level every two years. Since 2012, cross country competitions have been organized at the continental level every year.
Will Burundi participate in that competition?
We hope to participate and it will be the first time that the country be represented in African Cross Country Championship. In the 1st and 2nd championship, Burundi was absent due to the lack of means. The competitions were held in faraway countries from Burundi, the situation that requires much money to participate. The Ministry in Charge of Youth, Sport and Culture was to be in charge of the participation but it was not financially able.
Why do you believe that Burundi will now participate?
Many factors explain it. First of all, the distance between Burundi and Uganda is not long. Arriving there does not require necessarily travelling by plane. We have planned to rent a big bus which is cheaper. For instance, when we should participate in competitions where we had to take a plane, we had to pay more than BIF 30 million, but now travelling by bus will take us a maximum of BIF 10 million including the stay. Secondly, the integration of both countries into East African Community is an advantage. Moving from Burundi to Uganda is not difficult today, instead of a visa or passport one can travel with a simple pass. This will facilitate us to be represented by many athletes.
How are you preparing the competition?
The Federation is normally represented at the provincial level. We have requested a number of athletes from each province so that we will proceed to a good national selection based on performance. We are running intensive training sessions. The selection tournament will be organized on 2nd February 2014 at Bujumbura. We will present 4 groups of 4 for girls and boys. For me, everything is going very well. And we are glad that our Minister does support us very much.