Rwanda national women sitting volleyball team, fresh from the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, are not taking anything for granted and are set to begin early preparations for the 2020 Games that will be held in Tokyo, Japan.
Rwanda became the first African country to field a women sitting volleyball team at the world’s biggest sports event for people with physical disabilities when the team participated in Rio 2016.
And the team has now vowed to become regular participants at the quadrennial event, with view to reaching the world’s biggest podium at one time, according to assistant coach, Jean Marie Nsengiyumva.
“Our performance in Rio was a bit disappointing, it did not go according to plan but the good thing is that our debut gave us a wonderful experience which we shall base on to prepare for the next edition,” he said.
“Our main concern is improving our technical level and this can be done through early preparations, which we hope to begin as early as December this year,” added Nsengiyumva.
Rwanda’s historic debut at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games sitting volleyball competition ended with a dismal record after losing four consecutive matches to finish bottom of an eight-team table.
The 2015 Africa Paravolley champions lost all their Group B games – against champions China in the opening game 3-0 (3-25, 25-8, 25-6), Iran 3-0 (10-25, 19-25, 18-25), and the US 3-0 (10-25, 8-25 and 3-25).
In the seventh place play-off, Peter Karreman’s team lost to Canada 3-0 (21-25, 15-25 and 20-25), hence ending the competition without winning a single set.
The Rwandan team was the youngest Rio having been established in 2013.
Nsegyiyumva noted, “We want to transform the team into regular competitors in all international competitions, which is why we need to kick off preparations for Tokyo 2020 early enough.”