Rwanda’s number one tennis player Dieudonne Habiyambere has revealed that failure to participate in international tournaments was behind their unsatisfactory record at the just concluded All Africa Games held in Congo Brazzaville.
Four players represented Rwanda in tennis including Habiyambere and second seed Olivier Havugima in the men’s category while female number one Megan Ingabire and Gisele Umumararungu ranked second in the women’s category but none qualified from the third round.
According to Habiyambere who was beaten in the third round playoff by DR Congo’s Dennis Indondo 6-2, 6-1 who went on to win the tournament, it was not because they were the underdogs but all their opponents had participated in several international tournaments before heading to Congo which was very paramount in such a tournament.
“We had many local tournaments before going to Congo but that cannot help you improve when you are to meet players who have been playing against foreign players,” said Habiyambere.
He added that many of the players they faced have travelled to Angola for the International Tennis Prize Money Tournament this week and not participating is a setback to them as a team.
Rwanda Tennis Federation president Kassim Ntageruka also concurred with Habiyambere describing the lack of international tournaments as a serious problem affecting the development of the game in the country.
“Such international tournaments require individual sponsorship yet they are expensive but we have decided to start looking for sponsors to address the problem,” said Ntageruka.
Rwanda won four medals in the just concluded 11th edition of AAG including gold in men’s road race and bronze in the team time trial (cycling), Hermas Cliff Muvunyi’s gold in the men’s Paralympic T46 400m category and bronze in women’s beach volleyball.