Hermas Cliff Muvunyi is the first Rwandan to win a Gold medal in the history of the All Africa Games. He got the medal after clocking 50 seconds and 30 microseconds in the 400m T46 race at Zimpeto National stadium in Maputo, Mozambique in February this year.
In an interview with The New Times, the 24-year-old Muvunyi said his mother has always been his source of inspiration.
“Besides making my country proud, I always have my mother at heart in everything I do. I always want to make her happy because she believes in me. Before any race, I pray first then think of my mother because I know she is always praying for me to succeed,” Muvunyi said.
The gold medal was Muvunyi’s second decoration after three days participating in the Maputo games. He has earlier acquired a silver medal- in the 800m T46 after clocking 1:57:70 to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. He will represent Rwanda in the Paralympics Games scheduled for August 29 to September 9, 2012.
The soft-spoken Muvunyi was born in Kamonyi District where he attended his primary school education at OBEM Mugina A before joining Aprede Soque Secondary School in Musanze District.
“I first got involved in athletics at a tender age when I was in secondary school. As a child, I always dreamt of becoming a great footballer but that didn’t work out. It was later on, during my Secondary School that I decide to seriously make athletics part of my life,” Muvunyi explained.
When it came to balancing school and sports, the Paralympian said it was challenging but his mother was always there to give him a push.
“My mother always told me that although sports was good, I needed to study hard because, for her, education is the key to success. Even today, she is still telling me to enrol into university and it’s something I’m considering. I would like to do a Bachelors Degree in Information Technology,” he said.
Muvunyi first participated in 100m races before he started running 400m races in 2008.
“I’m in the APR Athletics Club and I first consulted my coach (Innocent Rwabuhihi), on whether I can run 400m. With regular practice and training I also run the 800m,” says Muvunyi
He first participated in international games during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.
“I ran in 100m and was the fifth in the finals. This encouraged me to train harder.
“It’s a great feeling to raise your national flag and hear your national anthem being sung on foreign soil just because you are a winner. I would give anything to feel that again. I’m praying that even during the Olympic Games in London, I can make my country proud,” Muvunyi says.
Muvunyi encouraged Rwanda’s youth to always be patient and work hard in order to embrace their dreams.
“When you know your objective, you can achieve your dream,” he advised.
Dish: - Rwandan dishes (Ugali and beef stew)
Music: - Rwandan Cultural Music
Colour: - Green
Quote: - ‘Hard work pays’