Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Rwanda: Gervais Hakizimana – Brief-Lived Dream of a High Rwandan Athletics Coach


In 2009, in Kaptagat, a settlement in southwestern Kenya, an incidental encounter that might later form the world of athletics occurred when Gervais Hakizimana, a former Rwandan athlete-turned coach crossed paths with a barefooted teen named Kelvin Kiptum.

On the time, Kiptum was tending to his father’s cattle, whereas Hakizimana was doing his routine coaching observe, little did they know that this assembly would culminate into the teen breaking the world marathon report in 2023 below Hakizimana’s mentorship.

Since 2018, Hakizimana had performed a pivotal function within the Kenyan champion’s journey till Sunday, February 11 when the two died in a automobile accident in Western Kenya.

ALSO READ: Kenya’s World Marathon report holder, Rwandan coach die in highway accident

Their coach-athlete connection was characterised by Kiptum’s transitioning from the half-marathon to the complete marathon below Hakizimana’s steerage. In a 2023 interview with the BBC, Hakizimana revealed that convincing Kiptum to embrace the problem of a full 42.2km marathon required time and persuasion.

The story of Kiptum stands out as a testomony to Hakizimana’s teaching prowess, however it is just one chapter in his profession. Colleagues and acquaintances describe the 36-year-old fallen coach as a person with potential to identify budding skills in athletics and present them the trail to greatness identical to he did for Kiptum.

He was solely going to unearth extra nice athletes via his new athletics growth tasks that he was about to begin in his native Rwanda.

Who’s Hakizimana?

Born in Nyaruguru District, Southern Province, Hakizimana transitioned from a profitable long-distance athletic profession, notably representing APR athletics membership and the nationwide staff, to teaching and expertise scouting round 2008. His skilled journey took him to numerous nations, together with France, Kenya and Rwanda.

Recognised for his eager eye for expertise, Hakizimana had been actively scouting potential athletes since 2017. He would determine promising people and join them with good managers, notably in France.

Emmanuel Ntakiyimana, a former athlete and buddy of the late coach, attested to Hakizimana’s work ethic and braveness in expertise growth.

The 2 have been teammates in APR athletics membership again in 2008 and so they have been later residing collectively in Kenya.

By way of a collaboration with UniRun 59, a French-based organisation devoted to expertise growth, Hakizimana began scouting athletes from Kenya, coaching them and connecting them with managers.

UniRun 59 was based by French coach Philippe Plancke.

ALSO READ: Rwandan athletes eulogise deceased coach Hakizimana

Ntakiyimana additionally talked about how Hakizimana found and groomed Kiptum, till the athlete achieved a brand new world marathon report in October 2023 when clocking the 26.1 miles (42km) in two hours and 35 seconds.

His marathon report was ratified simply final week by the World Athletics.

He reckoned that the late coach may have nurtured extra athletes like Kiptum, even in Rwanda via a few of his tasks.

On the time of his passing, Hakizimana had a number of private and collective tasks, together with the forthcoming ‘UniRun Rwanda’, a joint athletics expertise growth initiative which he, along with Ntakiyimana and Philippe Plancke, had submitted for registration with the Rwanda Governance Board.

The initiative may begin operations in Rwanda as quickly as in March.

“We will not cease operating it. And, this time, we have now to do it for him,” mentioned Ntakiyimana, who holds the nationwide report within the 400m since 2016.