Rubavu residents turned up in big numbers on Thursday to welcome the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay that is in the country on a four-day tour.
The Queen’s Baton arrived in Rwanda on Wednesday from Ghana and headed to Rubavu District in Western Province. The Baton was carried by national swimmer Bebeto Isahaka Irankunda.
On Friday morning, the Baton will visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi; while in the afternoon, it will be relayed through the streets of Kigali from the Convention Centre to Amahoro National Stadium before heading to Uganda on Saturday.
Travelling for 388 days throughout all the Commonwealth nations and territories, the relay will be the longest in Commonwealth Games’ history. The 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place on the Gold Coast in Australia from April 4-15.
The event in Rubavu was supposed to be graced by the Minister for Sports and Culture Julienne Uwacu, Rwanda Olympic Committee president Valens Munyabagisha, and Commonwealth Games Federation President Dr. Louise Martin, but they failed to make it due to heavy rains and bad weather that couldn’t allow their chopper to fly from Kigali.
Rubavu district vice mayor Janvier Murenzi said: “We are very grateful for this event and we would like to thank the organisers because it does encourage our athletes to compete in the Commonwealth Games.”
“But most importantly, we’re glad to use this occasion to implement one of our long-term projects as a country, which is environmental conservation through tree planting,” Murenzi added, in regards to this year’s Queen’s Baton Relay special theme: ‘Environmental Sustainability.’
The ceremony comprised two activities, namely; tree planting on the banks of River Sebeya and a 5-kilometre Run for Fun around Rubavu town.
Felix Uwimana won the five-kilometre men’s category clocking 12 minutes, 37 seconds and 190 micro seconds, while Eric Turikunkiko finished second with Jean Damascene Hakizimana taking the bronze medal.
In the women’s category, Jeanette Uwambajimana won the gold medal posting 14 minutes, 47 seconds and 67 microseconds. She was followed by Joseline Nyiraneza and Alicia Aganze, who won silver and bronze medal positions, respectively.