With just four months to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, local sports federations have criticized the National Olympic and Sports Committee for not releasing funds to prepare the teams head of the Games in Brazil.
Four Rwandans have already earned qualification, and their respective federations say they have laid out plans to participate in several international competitions in preparation for the prestigious Games.
Among the qualified athletes include two marathon runners, Claudette Mukasakindi and Jean Baptiste Simukeka as well as two cyclists, Janvier Hadi (road) and Nathan Byukusenge (Mountain Bike).
However, the issue of funding seems to be a challenge.
Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) president Aimable Bayingana has expressed his frustration at RNOC’s delay in releasing funds to prepare the riders.
Speaking to Saturday Sport, Bayingana said, “We finished handing over our quotations, names and the budget for preparations but we are still waiting for a response, we don’t know what the problem is.”
“It’s not just a matter of featuring in the Games, the objective is to win a medal, and the riders have to get prepared ahead of time, we need air tickets, and other amenities but we cannot afford everything on our own, we need government assistance,” he added.
Like FERWACY, the athletics federation is also complaining over the same. They claim lack of funds is hampering their preparations.
“We have resorted to knock on our partners’ doors,” a RAF official, who preferred not to be named, told this paper this week.
“Other countries started preparing for the Olympics long ago; athletes need to go to train in better facilities, participate in several international competitions and their health needs to be taken care of. They need to build confidence, but we have our hands tied due to lack of funding,” he explained.
“RNOC needs to make the funds available on time”.
For the first time, Africa will send a women’s sitting volleyball team to the Paralympics scheduled from September 7-18. And that team will be Rwanda.
Plans have been laid out for the team to participate in several international competitions ahead of the Games.