An 18-member delegation from Rwanda was expected to embark on their journey to Rio in Brazil in the wee hours of this morning exactly a week to opening of the 2016 Paralympics Games.
Team Rwanda includes a squad of 12 members of the country’s sitting volleyball, which will be proudly representing the African continent at the Games, while athlete Hermas Cliff Muvunyi is one of the most noticeable faces in the delegation.
Both Muvunyi, who will be competing in men’s 400m and 1500m T-46 events, and the sitting volleyball team, are former world champions and, in them, Rwanda holds the hopes of winning a medal in Rio 2016 – in both Olympics and Paralympics games.
Weeks after the country saw its representatives at the Olympics Games return empty handed with the majority of them failing to even complete their respective competitions due to various reasons, the country will be hoping to see its flag raised high yet again in the Paralympics Games.
Whether or not these young men and women go on to snatch podium finishes in Rio, the country’s Paralympics teams have done us proud on many instances in the past and deserve a special recognition for their great achievements.
In Paralympics teams, we have a good example in the fact that Rwanda is not short of sporting talent but rather where we often fall short is spotting, nurturing and organising those talents into winners.
The other sports federations, especially the football federation, need to take the cue from their Paralympics counterparts if they are to bring to an end years of mediocrity and underperformance.
Medals don’t come by chance; they are earned through years of hard work and consistent investment.
To our Paralympics team in the upcoming Rio Games, we wish you every success.