The president of the National Paralympic Committee, Celestin Nzeyimana has said Rwanda is ready for the upcoming Rio Paralympic Games slated for September 7-18 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The biggest international multi-sport event for athletes with physical disabilities will have a total of 526 events contested by athletes from over 175 countries. Two new sports disciplines were introduced in this year’s Paralympic programme namely; Canoeing and Para-triathlon.
Rwanda will be represented by the women sitting volleyball, the only African team in the competition and Hermas Cliff Muvunyi, who will compete in the Men’s 400m and 1500m T46 categories.
Eight teams will compete in the Rio Paralympic sitting volley competition, which will kick-off on September 11.
Rwanda is drawn in group B alongside the top two ranked teams, China (1) and USA (2) as well as Iran while hosts and world No.4 side Brazil are in Pool A together with Ukraine, Canada and Russia.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday at the NPC-Rwanda headquarters, Nzeyimana said, “Our athletes are ready for the Games. A delegation of 23 people will depart for Rio on August 31.”
“Technically, the team (women sitting volleyball) is well prepared and has improved significantly, taking into consideration the level of performance in the previous warm-up matches.
“We are hopeful the women team will perform well, just like Muvunyi who is eager to win a medal this time around. We expect him to perform better compared to the last 2012 London Games,” Nzeyimana added.
The team has held several training camps outside Africa since 2014 including in countries like Slovenia, China and Netherlands, where they played against the likes of USA, Iran, Croatia, Finland and Hungary.
Medal hopeful Muvunyi qualified for the Rio Games during the 2015 IAAF World Athletics Championship last October in Doha, Qatar.
“This is the best time for me to win a medal in Paralympic Games, I am ready, and I have improved and trained a lot during the preparations,” said Muvunyi, a former world champion of the Men’s 800m T46.
Rwanda women’s team beat Egypt in a five-set thriller (3-2) to claim the only Paralympics Games ticket available for Africa, while the men’s single slot went to Egypt after overwhelming Rwanda in straight sets (3-0) at Amahoro Indoor Stadium in July last year.
Rwanda will go into the 15th Summer Paralympic Games in Rio, seeking to add to the sole medal (bronze) that Jean de Dieu Nkundabera won at the 2004 Athens Paralympics in the men’s 800 metres T46.
Women sitting V-ball squad:
Liliane Mukobwankawe, BeathaNyinawabantu, Providence Nyirantungane, Solange Nyiraneza, Alice Musabyemariya, Carine Kwizera, Yvonne Imanishimwe, Claudine Murebwayire, Claudine Bazubagira, AngesNyiranshimiyimana, Clementine Umutoni and Sandrine Nyirambarushimana.