Many sports personalities in Rwanda have done exceedingly well in helping to put the country on the global sports map over the years in various disciplines. With Moise Mugishas success at the just ended Tour du Rwanda2022 and Salima Mukansanga being the first female to officiate at the Africa nations cup in January, Times Sport takes a look at some of the sports personalities who brought the country to the limelight through their sporting fields. Olivier Karekezi Karekezi was the top scorer at the 2003 Africa Cup Winners Cup alongside team mate Jean Lomami although the former was the real deal as he tormented defenders throughout the competition. Before the exploits of Karekezi, nothing was known internationally about the Rwandan club football but he put the country in the limelight by masterminding APR FC’s semi-final berth in the competition as they eliminated Ghanaian outfit Kumasi Asante Kotoko who were giants on the continent. Jimmy Gatete The strikers two crucial goals, which included the winner against the Black Stars of Ghana at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali on July 6, 2003 secured Rwanda’s first ever ticket to the African Cup of Nations. Gatete was a fearsome forward who showed that he could mesmerize even the best defenders in the world as he did to Samuel Osei Kuffour who was playing at Bayern Munich and was ranked among the best defenders in the world. Jimmy Gatete is an Amavubi legend whose goals led Rwanda to its debut in the AFCON tourney. File After Gatete aided Rwanda to the 2004 AFCON in Tunisia, people in the football fraternity on the continent took notice of the country as an emerging force in Africa Valens Ndayisenga He became the first native to win the Tour du Rwanda (2014) since its inception into the International Cycling Union in 2009. Ndayisenga used 24 hours 57 minutes and 10 seconds to win the 933.8km race which spanned over eight days. Valens Ndayisenga became the first Rwandan to win the Tour du Rwanda (2014) since its inception into the International Cycling Union in 2009. File His success coupled with those from other riders in subsequent years such as Samuel Mugisha, Joseph Areruya who became the first Rwandan to ride in the Paris-Roubaix in 2019 and now Moise Mugisha has firmly put Rwanda on the world cycling map Celestin Ntagungira Affectionately called Abega, Ntagungira is considered as the most successful Rwandan referee. He had a fruitful refereeing career which spanned over a decade (1997-2010) and was assistant referee at two world cups in 2006 and 2010. He also officiated at two AFCON tournaments: 2006 in Egypt and 2008 in Ghana as an assistant referee. Cathia Uwamahoro On February 16, 2017, the Rwandan female cricket player broke a Guinness World Record for the longest Cricket net session by a woman as she set a new one. Uwamahoro spent 26 hours batting. Mention can also be made of Eric Dusingizimana who also holds a 51-hour record of batting in the net which he set in May 2016. Alexandre Lyambabaje An Academic scholar, Lyambabaje got a scholarship to study at the University of Rennes in France due to his volleyball exploits. He had previously studied at the University of Rwanda as well as the University of Montreal in Canada and was very active in sports. He became the first Volleyball player from Rwanda to play internationally before other players like Flavien Ndamukunda, Yakan Lawrence, Valens Dusabimana and Yves Mutabazi went pro. Salima Mukansanga The Rwandan referee made history in Africa and world football as a whole when she became the first female to officiate in the mens Africa cup of Nations football tournament. Mukansanga was at the helm of affairs on January 18, 2022 when Zimbabwe defeated Guinea 2-1 in Group B of the 2021 AFCON held in Cameroon. She put Rwanda high on the football ladder and many pundits of the game commended the East African country for producing such a great referee. Kenneth Gasana Born in the US, Gasana is among the top Rwandan Basketball players having played for teams including Chabab Rif Al-Hoceima, Texas Fuel, Ittiigad Tanger, REF, Patriots and New Star. Currently, he features for Bahrain club and he is one of their best foreign imports, US-based Kenneth Gasana is one of the most gifted basketball players that has played for the country. File Another player who has also put Rwanda on the international map is Aristide Mugabe who has enormous experience in the sport. Dominique Bizimana He put Rwanda on the world map when he was appointed by the World Organization Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD) as the special advisor in charge of sitting volleyball for Africa in August 2009. He was also previously the president of the East African Paralympic Committee. In the same sport, Liliane Mukobwankawe, a former captain of the Rwanda sitting volleyball team was voted as the best spiker at the 2019 African Sitting Volleyball Championship.