As other countries put final touches on their preparations for next year’s Olympic Games, in Rwanda it’s just the exact opposite.
With just over 200 days remaining before the Games kick off in the Chinese city of Beijing, the Rwanda National Olympics Committee (RNOC) commission responsible for preparing the Rwandan team is not even aware of the size of participants they would take!
To make things even worse, only one athlete, Dieudonne Disi has so far qualified for the Games however, officials at RNOC expect three more to join him but they would have to first attain the minimum required standard time.
Besides athletics, Rwanda is expected to take four more disciplines including boxing, swimming, cycling and Paralympics (sports for the physically disabled).
For boxing to qualify, they would have to go through two qualifying rounds, the first at the end of January in Namibia and the second in Algeria in April.
Waiting for wildcard
Team Rwanda Chef de Mission to the Games has revealed that they (RNOC) applied for wildcards in the other three disciplines; swimming, cycling and Paralympics.
“However, we are still waiting for the response, which I don’t think we can get before April,” Thierry Ntwali told Times Sport yesterday.
He added, “Nonetheless, we shall start our preparation next month regardless of whether we know the exact number of participants we’re taking (to Beijing) or not.”
“Our plan is to have all the athletes from these five disciplines start preparations as soon as we get the money we requested for from the ministry (Youth, Culture and Sports) possibly in January.
“It wouldn’t make sense, neither to us nor the players themselves to start preparing without money. We just have to wait until the ministry releases the money we requested for,” he acknowledged.
Ntwali noted that all the short listed players would start preparations next month as they (RNOC) wait for the response in regards to their application for wildcards.
Last-minute preps syndrome
In an ideal world or in countries where they know what it takes to win an Olympics medal, preparations takes four years but for Rwanda, their preparations have not even taken off with just over seven months remaining.
And as Ntwali admitted, there is no way people should expect our athletes to win medals in Beijing on the back of their miserable preparations.
“We had four years to prepare but did nothing and now we’re only planning to start training with over 200 days remaining,” he stressed.
He, however, exonerated the National Olympics Committee from the blame regarding last-minute preparations.
“People should stop blaming the Olympics Committee for late preparations, we all in it together.
“Individual clubs and federations must take the lead role as far as preparing their players for such competitions is concerned.
According to Ntwali, the training camp alone is expected to consume between Frw34 and 35 millions but until to date, they (RNOC) hasn’t received even single coin but is opportunistic money would be available next month for preparations to set off.
The next Olympic Games are scheduled for August 8-24 and Ntwali said, “Every thing is about money and it’s the money that has always been the major hindrance to our preparations.”