Rwandan runner wins Italy race after ban on Africans lifted

TRIESTE, Italy (AP) — Noel Hitimana of Rwanda won the Trieste half marathon on Sunday, a week after the race revoked its ban on African runners following an outcry of racism accusations.

Hitimana clocked 1 hour, 3 minutes and 28 seconds.

Volha Mazuronak of Belarus won the women’s race in 1:13:56.

Race manager Fabio Carini said the ban had been put in place because African athletes are often taken advantage of by their agents.

The ban was revoked after the Italian athletics federation opened an investigation into the race’s organization.

Organizers said that of the nearly 2,000 runners who took part in the race 34 percent were foreigners and that 46 countries were represented.

The ANSA news agency reported that many runners painted their faces black to show solidarity with the African athletes.