Rwanda Para Taekwondo team head coach Irene Bagire is confident about his team’s chances of retaining the African Championship when this year’s edition gets underway brtween March 31-April 1 in the Moroccan coastal city of Aigdir.
The Para Taekwondo and Taekwondo national teams departed for Morocco on Saturday afternoon ahead of the African Taekwondo Championships.
The continental championship will run from March 28-30 while the Para Taekwondo event, designed for players with physical disabilities and impairments, will start a day later.
The 2017 African Para Taekwondo Championship hosts, and then debutants, Rwanda finished top with a medal tally of six, including; 2 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medal, respectively.
“After three months of intense training, we are ready to challenge for medals in Morocco,” Bagire said a day before the team’s departure on Saturday.
He added that, “My players have rich experience in international competitions which I hope will guide us to glory. We will be playing against some of the best players in the Africa but we’re the (Para Taekwondo) defending champions and we have to show that last year’s win wasn’t a fluke.”
Ranked 8th in Africa, according the latest World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) rankings, Rwanda will be seeking to successfully retain the continental title which they claimed last year in Kigali.
At the continent’s most prestigious taekwondo competitions, Rwanda will field a total 14 players, eight in the taekwondo and six in Para Taekwondo.
Rwandan fighters will face stiff challenge from the hosts Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Gabon among other.
Para Taekwondo: Jean de la Croix Nikwigize, Consolee Rukundo, Jean Claude Niringiyimana, Jean Marie Vianney Bizumuremyi, Parfait Hakizimana and Jean Pierre Manirakiza
Taekwondo: Benoit Kayitare (captain), Savio Nizeyimana, Vincent Munyakazi, Moussa Twizeymana, Delphine Uwababyeyi, Raissa Umurerwa, Aline Ndacyayisenga and Benise Uwase.