Rwanda national taekwondo team once again proved why they are the top dogs in the region after scooping a total eight gold medals at this year’s fifth edition of Uganda Ambassador’s Cup that concluded on Sunday in Kampala.
This was the first time that Rwanda was participating at the annual event that had attracted competitors from five regional countries namely, Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and the hosts, Uganda.
Team Rwanda, under the guidance of trainers, Allan Irene Bagire and Eugene Ntawagundu, comprised eight martial artists including six men and two women.
Out of the eight, only Innocent Sibomana failed to win any medal with the rest bagging gold medals in their respective categories, an achievement that saw Rwanda crowned as the tournament overall champions.
The five male players that won gold medals include; team captain Benon Kayitare, who competed in the U-54kg category, Jean de Dieu Ukwigize (U-58kg), Savio Nizeyimana (U-68kg), Moussa Twizeyimana (U-63kg) and Cedrick Mwemezi (U-80kg).
The two women were Aline Ndacyayisenga in the U-53kg and Clarisse Uwayo in the U-57kg categories respectively.
“I am very happy about our performance, actually our target before the tournament was to try and win at least seven medals. We came here to use this tournament as part of our preparations for the forthcoming international competitions,” Bagire told Times Sport in a phone interview.
The upcoming events include among others, the Genocide memorial tournament set for June 10, World Championships set for June 22-30 in Muju, South Korea, Rwanda Ambassador’s Cup set for September and the Gorilla International Open in November.
Last year, the team debuted at the 14th edition of the Taekwondo African Senior Championship in Egypt and bagged five medals.
Currently, Rwanda ranks first in the East Africa region, second in the sub-Saharan Africa behind Cote d’Ivoire and sixth on the continental level after Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Ivory Coast.