Rwanda-East Lothians partnership bears fruit

A delegation of five people from East Lothian, Scotland are in Rwanda to assist local sports federations identify athletes, who could be considered for the 2022 Commonwealth Games to be held in Durban, South Africa.
Scotland 7s team captain Scott Wight speaks to Saturday Sport on Thursday. / Stephen Kalimba.
Scotland 7s team captain Scott Wight speaks to Saturday Sport on Thursday. / Stephen Kalimba.

A delegation of five people from East Lothian, Scotland are in Rwanda to assist local sports federations identify athletes, who could be considered for the 2022 Commonwealth Games to be held in Durban, South Africa.

The visit is part of a pre-existing partnership between East Lothian Council and the Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee (RNOSC) signed during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland which started when the Council hosted the Rwandan team for pre-games training camp.

 

The delegation is made up of the captain of the Scotland 7s team Scott Wight and East Lothian Football Development Officer, Alan ‘Chalky’ White as well as coaches from Tranent Colts.

 

Wight, 30, is assisting Rwanda Rugby Federation in talent identification and specific sevens coaching workshops. The Scot says he is privileged to be in Rwanda to move the partnership forward.

 

“To be honest, I did not know what to expect but now that I’m here, the attitude of the players is absolutely first class, hopefully I will pass on and share some of my rugby skills to the young players,” he told Saturday Sport in an exclusive interview.

White added that, “it’s good to know the players and what their abilities are, individually because that is an essential part of training.”

The Rwanda national rugby team captain Vincent Kamali, who is also attending the training believes the players stand to benefit from White’s experience as well as from the other East Lothians rugby coaches, “We have learnt a lot during the gym fitness, field technical and video sessions.”

Meanwhile, the RNOSC Executive Director, Jean de Dieu Mukundiyukuri, explained that the delegation is in the country to work with athletics, swimming, rugby and volleyball federations until October 2.

“Having them in Rwanda will benefit the local federations because they are here to share their expertise in coaching skills, club development and to train upcoming youth for the next Commonwealth Games,” said Mukundiyukuri.

He further noted that, “The existing partnership is essential because it will assist to develop our federations and next year, we shall send some of our coaches from different federations to visit Scotland so that they can learn how East Lothians academies, schools and clubs operate.”

According to other officials, the primary theme of the trip may be in sports disciplines but the significance for the communities between East Lothian and Rwanda goes far beyond this.

While in Rwanda, coaches will also be involved in some house-building projects that bring together survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and former perpetrators, as the people of Rwanda continue to rebuild their communities.

The delegation will also visit Kigali Genocide memorial site before meeting up with the Rwandan FA and government officials.

In July 2015, both RNOSC and East Lothians entered into a partnership, which also involves the national football team, where the Amavubi was expected to hold a two-week training camp in Scotland, but unfortunately it did not happen.

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