The Minister of Sports and Culture Julienne Uwacu handed over the national flag to the Olympic and Paralympic teams, which will represent Rwanda at the forthcoming 2016 Rio Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brazil.
The flag hand-over ceremony took place on Wednesday afternoon at the ministry headquarters at Amahoro National Stadium in Remera, and was attended by the Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee (RNOSC) officials, the Paralympic teams as well as media.
Minister Uwacu reminded both Olympic and Paralympic teams about the time and effort spent preparing for the games, saying, “this is the beginning; the journey is still long and every competition is a battle since every competitor wants to win.”
The minister told the athletes that they are going to Rio as representatives of Rwanda and not as individuals.
“You will be representing 12 million people, and Rwanda has built an image; the world speaks about Rwanda and its achievements, especially after hosting the continental AU summit.
You should carry the same image and stature while in Rio because you will meet people from different countries with different cultures,” the Minister noted. The Olympic Games are scheduled to run from August 5 to 2.
She urged them to be obedient as well as respectful to the rules and regulations, adding that Government is ready to support them.
Rwanda will be represented by seven athletes in Rio Olympics, among them three runners, two swimmers and two cyclists. Cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti will be the team captain and will carry the national flag.
In his absence, 10,000m distance runner Salome Nyirarukundo received the flag from the Minister on behalf of the team while Hermas Cliff Muvunyi, captain of the Paralympic team, received the flag for the Paralympic Games.
Muvunyi and the women sitting volleyball team, which will be Africa’s sole representative, will carry Rwanda’s flag at the Rio Paralympic Games slated for September 7-18.
The first delegation that includes; swimmers Eloi Imaniraguha (freestyle), currently in Thailand, and Johanna Umulungi (freestyle), who is based in Italy, will depart for Rio on July 28.