Rwanda has been given the go ahead to host this year’s ParaVolley Africa Sitting Volleyball Championships from September 13-17 after Kenya, who were the original designated hosts, withdrew at the last minute.
The five-day event will be hosted at National Paralympic Committee (NPC) Gymnasium and Amahoro Indoor Stadium in Remera, according to NPC-Rwanda Executive Secretary, Celestin Nzeyimana.
Initially, the continental showpiece was supposed to be hosted by Kenya from May 15-22, but they pulled out citing financial constraints and the rights were given to Rwanda, who will be hosting the event for the second time in a row after the 2015 edition.
“Kenya could not host the event as originally scheduled, and we were asked to step in, which we accepted. Hosting the event in our region makes it easier for Sub Saharan countries to participate,” Nzeyimana told Times Sport on Monday.
The former NPC-Rwanda president, added that, “It could as well be taken to Egypt or Morocco but most of Sub Saharan countries would find it difficult to participate.”
The event will have teams in both men and women categories, and already nine countries have confirmed their participation, according to Nzeyimana.
“Our teams will start residential training this month because the ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2018 Sitting Volleyball World Championships,” he stated.
The top two teams in both categories (men and women) will qualify for the World Championships to be hosted in The Hague, Netherlands, in July 2018.
In 2015, Rwanda hosted the African Championships and eventually won it in the women category hence becoming the first African country to qualify for the Paralympic Games.
However, it was not the result that the Rwandan team expected.
With the heavy load of shouldering Africa’s hopes, Rwanda’s debut ended with a dismal record after losing four consecutive matches to finish bottom of the eight-team table.