Sports

Kiptum’s trainer buried in Rwanda

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024 01:10 | By
Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba (second right) with Deputy Director of Sports Jaxon Indakwa (right) attend the requiem mass of coach Hakizimana Gervais in Kicukiro District, Masaka Sector, Kigali, Rwanda. Gervais died with World Marathon champion Kelvin Kiptum in an accident last week. PHOTO/Ministry of Sports
Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba (second right) with Deputy Director of Sports Jaxon Indakwa (right) attend the requiem mass of coach Hakizimana Gervais in Kicukiro District, Masaka Sector, Kigali, Rwanda. Gervais died with World Marathon champion Kelvin Kiptum in an accident last week. PHOTO/Ministry of Sports

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Ababu Namwamba led a contingent of Kenyan officials to bid farewell to the late Rwandan athletics coach Gervais Hakizimana.


Hakizimana, 36, was the trainer of Kenyan world men marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum with whom he died in road accident on February 11 at Kaptagat area in North Rift Kenya while heading to their training facility from Eldoret. Hakizimana, whose body arrived in Kigali last Saturday, was laid to rest at Rusororo cemetery after a requiem mass yesterday.


“We mourn together for losing a very diligent person, who was dedicated to serve the athletics scene until his untimely death. We are saddened as a nation and we will continue to work closely with Rwanda to have more collaborations like Hakizimana and Kiptum had before the untimely tragedy,” said Namwamba.


Born in Nyaruguru District, Southern Province, Hakizimana made a significant impact on Rwandan athletics as an athlete and as a coach. From his successful athletic career with APR athletics club and the national team, he made the transition to coaching and talent scouting in 2008. He travelled to different countries including France, and Kenya, searching for talented athletes.


Hakizimana had a special talent for spotting potential in athletes. Since 2017, he actively scouted and connected promising individuals with good managers, especially in France.

He collaborated with UniRun 59, an organization dedicated to talent development, founded by French coach Philippe Plancke. One of Hakizimana’s notable achievements was discovering and grooming Kiptum, who went on to set a new world marathon record in October 2023. Hakizimana believed that he could nurture more athletes like Kiptum, even in Rwanda through his projects.


At the time of his passing, Hakizimana had several ongoing personal and joint projects, including ‘UniRun Rwanda’, an athletics talent development initiative.


He, along with fellow former athlete Emmanuel Ntakiyimana and Plancke, submitted it for registration with the Rwanda government.

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