Rwandan teams have performed exceptionally well at the ongoing All-Africa Games taking place in Congo Brazzaville.
Cyclists have already struck gold in the men’s road race and bronze in the team time trial with the women’s beach volleyball side bagging bronze.
The men’s volleyball team has lost to Congo Brazzaville 3-1, but still stands a chance for a podium finish when they play the third place playoff today against the winner between Algeria or Egypt who are playing the next semifinal.
Cycling and volleyball are the two disciplines that have placed Rwanda on the sporting map.
The All Africa Games’ medals are a re-statement of the potential the country has in sports and with more support from the Ministry of Sports and Culture and local companies through sponsorship, a lot more can be achieved.
Rwanda is currently ranked sixth on the African continent in cycling behind Algeria, Morocco, South Africa, Eritrea and Tunisia in that order, and all this is down to a project that started only eight years ago.
A keen eye on youth structures across the country and investment in facilities has played an important role in the success on display right now.
The cycling side trains all year round, from Monday, to Friday at the Africa Rising Cycling Centre in Musanze and continue their training programmes on the weekend at their homes when they are off to spend time with their families.
Both cycling and volleyball have brought on board expert coaches with massive experience from their earlier careers as players.
Jonathan ‘Jock’ Boyer, the first American to ride at the prestigious Tour de France in 1984, has played a very important role in getting the best out of the team, while Paul Bitok, the coach of the national volleyball side, has done a tremendous job to get Rwanda among the top five countries on the African continent in the last four years.
Their success has attracted sponsorship from local companies like Cogebanque and Skol for cycling sparking the creation of the Rwanda Cycling Cup that has unearthed talent from across the country.
More support from all stakeholders could make Rwanda a powerhouse on the continent.