The national women beach volleyball trainer Paul Bitok has said his team will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games despite failing to book their ticket at the just concluded CAVB Women’s Continental Cup at Jabi Lake in Abuja, Nigeria on Sunday.
The Rio Olympics are slated for August 5-21. Rwanda’s qualification dreams were halted after a 2-1 loss to Egypt in the final. The North Africans claimed the sole direct qualification spot for Africa.
Rwanda and hosts Nigeria, who beat Mauritius 2-0 in the Bronze medal match, qualified to play at the FIVB Continental Cup to be staged in Sochi, Russia from July 5-10, bringing together a total of 10 countries from different confederations, where the winners and first runners-up will qualify for the Olympics.
Speaking to Times Sport in a phone interview from Abuja, Bitok refused to rule out Rwanda’s chances to make it to Copacabana Beach, noting that the girls have improved significantly, and can beat any team.
“I am aware the FIVB Continental Cup tournament will be more competitive but my players have been improving day by day and I have confidence they will qualify,” said the Kenyan trainer.
He further noted that the players suffered from fatigue in the final because they had little time to rest compared to their opponents.
The pair of Seraphine Mukantambara and Judith Hakizimana was eying the African slot in the final competition but lost. Egypt won the first set 21-14, 21-17, Rwanda came back into the game winning the second 21-09, 21-18 before losing the third and decisive set, 21-19.
Meanwhile, the Rwandan team was hosted to a dinner by Ambassador Stanislas Kamanzi at the Rwandan Embassy in Abuja where he thanked them for the outstanding performance and raising the flag of Rwanda high.
The team is expected to arrive in the country today aboard RwandAir.