As part of their plan to unearth hidden talent, the Rwanda Amateur Boxing Association (RABA) is planning to introduce the sport at Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Development Center (IRVSDC).
Speaking to Times Sport in an exclusive interview, RABA president Vicky Kalisa revealed that talks are underway with the Ministry of Sports and Culture to have this plan implemented.
“If you look at Iwawa Rehabilitation Centre, which is aimed at empowering youth with positive values and to give them hands-on vocational training skills, there are potential boxing talents that can be developed for national duty,” said Kalisa.
He added that, “The center provides a perfect avenue to unearth talent that is not yet discovered and nurtured. The objective is for these young men to be of value to the country – they can join any boxing club of their choice when they leave the rehabilitation center.”
Kalisa, a former national team boxer, further revealed that they also have plans to work with the National Police Force as well as the Rwanda Defence Force to introduce boxing in these institutions.
“Talks are also going on with RNP and RDF, to see how they can form boxing clubs in these institutions. We shall provide them with the technical expertise and train coaches. In other countries, these two institutions are a source of talented boxers, and if it can be done elsewhere, why not here,” he noted.
RNP have sports clubs in different sports disciplines such as football, handball while RDF maintains APR FC (men), APR athletics team, APR volleyball (men and women) and APR basketball (men and women). Most players in these clubs play in the national teams and none of them is a soldier.
This development comes after RABA has just officially acquired a legal status.
Over the years, the local boxing governing body has struggled to organise competitions or even a national championship.
But Kalisa pointed out that, “We have acquired legal status, which enables us to operate legally and get financial support from the Ministry of Sports and Culture. This is why we’re coming up with new initiatives. Plans are also underway to reach out to the schools, technical institutions and universities.”
There are nine boxing clubs in the country including Kimisagara, Kigali Life, Rafiki, No Limit, Inkuba, Remera, Kigali Wins, Fitness and Hillside.