Rwanda Boxing Amature Association (RABA) has named the final team of boxers and their reserves to represent Rwanda at the 2017 African Boxing Championships scheduled from May 27 to June 4 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
The team was picked after a four-day selection tournament, which climaxed over the weekend at Amahoro National Stadium. The team is expected to depart from Kigali on May 25, two days before the Championships kick off.
At the last edition hosted by Morocco, two years ago, Rwanda didn’t send any participants.
Jean Claude Gatorana, one of the three coaches that conducted the selection process said: “There were several tough decisions we had to make, but it shows the level of talent we have in Rwanda. The selected team includes a fantastic group of fighters, who we believe will do Rwanda proud.”
“Even though our boxers lack the experience of participating in major competitions, there is no doubt that we have the talent, it’s a matter of building up their confidence. They have been training in their respective clubs, so it’s not as if they are rusty,” Gatorana explained.
RABA president, Vicky Kalisa said that the team will immediately enter camp in Kigali for two weeks before traveling to Congo.
“Our goal is to perform well and qualify for the 2018 World Boxing Championships in Hamburg, Germany which will also be the new road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” Kalisa added.
Coach Gatorano is confident and believes boxers like Vincent Nsengiyumva (81kg) and 2014 All African Bronze medalist, Jean Pierre Cyiza, have the experience to lead their less-experienced colleagues.
Rwanda last competed at a boxing continental event in May 2014 when Cyiza took part in the All Africa Youth Games held in Botswana, bringing home Rwanda’s first medal (bronze) in boxing.
The road to German’s City of Hamburg began in the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent, with the ASBC Asian Championships running fromApril 30 to May 7 before the Congo capital Brazzaville hosts the AFBC African Championships.
The final team:
Olivier Niyigena (52kg), David Nsabimana (57kg), Alex Niyomurenyi (60kg), Jean Pierre Cyiza, Charles Muvunyi (64kg), Vincent Nsengiyumva (81kg) and one female boxer, Rachel Iratuzi (62kg).
Zakariya Niyonagize (52kg), Eric Baributa(57kg), Emmanual Ntare (60kg), John Ndahimana (64kg) and Samson Nshimiyimana (81kg) and female boxer; Cecile Umubyeyi (57kg).