Rwanda Tennis Federation (RTF) has confirmed the inaugural tournament organized in memory of former Rwanda number one, Jean-Claude Gasigwa. The tournament will be played on March 22-30.
RTF secretary general, Valens Habimana said that the preparations for the tournament that will be hosted at Amahoro stadium tennis courts are going pretty well and they expect several regional players to take part.
“Gasigwa was a great tennis player but more importantly raised the national flag in various tournaments across the continent and also made a lot of friends, who have been at the frontline of organizing this memorial tournament,” said Habimana.
Born on July 8 1983; Gasigwa died suddenly on January 8, 2015 after collapsing during training at Cercle Sportif de Kigali—his death shocked not only the tennis fraternity but the entire nation.
He was the country’s top seed for eight years since 2006 and widely regarded as the best tennis player in the country. He got his maiden call-up in the national team in 2003 at the age of 20 and was still carrying the country’s flag until the day he died. He holds a record seven ITF/Money circuit titles won from 2006 to 2013.
Gasigwa also won regional competitions such as Kenya Open in 2008, Tanzania Open in 2011, and Uganda Open in 2009 and 2013 among others. In 2011, Gasigwa also represented the country at the 10th All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique.
Habimana disclosed that despite remembering and honoring Gasigwa’s life, the tournament that is set to be organised every year, will be used to raise funds to support Gasigwa’s family. The event is open to both amateurs and professionals.
The countries that have so far confirmed their participation include; Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and DR Congo.