Rwanda’s Paralympian Hermas Muvunyi has said he will be eyeing a gold medal when he competes at the forthcoming 2016 Rio Paralympics Games scheduled for September 7-18 in Brazil.
The national Paralympics champion, who made his Summer Paralympics Games debut four years ago in London, will compete in the Men’s 400m and 1500m T-46 events.
The 28-year-old qualified for Rio at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Two weeks ago, the APR Athletics Club runner, announced that he would retire at the conclusion of the Rio Games.
Muvunyi, along with the national women sitting volleyball team are set to depart for Rio on Wednesday.
“I have had very good preparations and I think I have made significant improvement since I made my Paralympics Games debut in London in 2012. If you ask I can tell you, I have about 70 percent chances of winning a medal in Rio. A bronze or silver is not bad but gold is my ultimate target,” he told Times Sport.
Muvunyi won gold in men’s 400m T-46, registering his personal best of 49:16 at the 11th All Africa Games in the Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo last year.
He added, “Rwandans should understand that I need a Paralympics medal more than what they are asking for, I have worked hard in the 1500m, which I am doing for the first time at this level.”
Muvunyi’s trainer, Eric Karasira, who is also the Chef de Mission for Team Rwanda in Rio, is confident the reigning African champion, is in much better position to challenge for a medal than he was in London.
“Since the 800m has been removed from the Paralympics list of races, Muvunyi switched to 1500m and I believe he is capable of coming home with a medal,” Karasira noted.
Muvunyi has had good preparations for the Rio Games, having won a gold medal in the 1500m T-46 category during the Berlin Open Grand Prix in Germany last month, clocking four minutes and 14 seconds. The highly rated star also claimed a silver medal in the 400m after finishing second.
Rwanda’s only medal at the Paralympics so far was won by Jean de Dieu Nkundabera, after claiming bronze in the Men’s 800m T46 at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. Nkundabera also represented Rwanda again at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing but didn’t win anything.