Powerlifter Niyonzima eyes medal in Australia

Rwanda’s Paralympic Powerlifter Vedaste Niyonzima believes he has what it takes to challenge for a medal at the upcoming Commonwealth Games scheduled for April 4-15 in Gold Coast, Australia.
Vedaste Niyonzima will take part in the ParaPowerlifting category at the Commonwealth Games. Courtesy
Vedaste Niyonzima will take part in the ParaPowerlifting category at the Commonwealth Games. Courtesy

Rwanda’s Paralympic Powerlifter Vedaste Niyonzima believes he has what it takes to challenge for a medal at the upcoming Commonwealth Games scheduled for April 4-15 in Gold Coast, Australia.

Niyonzima, a category 59 Para Powerlifter, is preparing to make his debut at the Commonwealth Games, having finished 12th at last year’s World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico.

In 2015, he participated in the All Africa Games held in Congo Brazzaville but didn’t win any medal.

The 24-year old is currently training at Amahoro National Stadium under the guidance of his coach Jean Paul Nsengiyumva, who, in an interview with Saturday Sport, said that his athlete is capable of winning silverware, having improved from lifting 117kg to 135kg.

“The target before starting the competition will be lifting 140kg, which could be good enough to win a medal. Another good thing is that some of the top African Para Powerlifting countries like Egypt are not part of the Commonwealth, which is an added advantage for us,” noted Nsengiyumva.

Niyonzima started preparations two months ago in his bid to improve on his 12th-place finish at the World Championships in Mexico.

Niyonzima said; “We are starting a week-long residential training camp on Friday (yesterday) as the final phase of our training programme. We are confident about performing well at the Commonwealth Games.”

A total of 17 athletes across four sporting disciplines will carry the country’s flag in the quest for a historic first Commonwealth Games medal.

Rwanda will have representatives in cycling, athletics, beach volleyball and para-powerlifting.

Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in 2009 and debuted at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 in New Delhi, India and competed again at the 2014 edition that was hosted in Glasgow, Scotland, however the country is yet to win any medal.

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