Paralympian Muvunyi cleared to race again

Rwanda National Paralympic Committee (NPC-Rwanda) has allowed Paralympian Hermas Muvunyi to return to competition after he apologized for “criticizing the committee” that nothing was being done to support him to take his career to another level.

Rwanda National Paralympic Committee (NPC-Rwanda) has allowed Paralympian Hermas Muvunyi to return to competition after he apologized for “criticizing the committee” that nothing was being done to support him to take his career to another level.

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Muvunyi is free to resume his training and will be supported to participate in competitions, both local and international, provided he meets the requirements. / File

NPC-Rwanda banned the former world champion from competing after the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games for allegedly going public and accusing the committee of doing little to support him in various international competitions.

However, his criticism did not go well with NPC leadership, who asked him to retract the accusations, a letter he wrote early last month, according to the Committee officials. The letter came after Muvunyi had spent a full year without competing.

NPC set three conditions for him, among them; to apologize in writing, to the Minister of Sports and Culture, retract what he had said led to his early retirement through the local media as well as apologize to his colleagues.

NPC-Rwanda secretary general, Dieudonné Mutangana told Times Sport on Sunday that Muvunyi has been forgiven after fulfilling what he was asked.

He confirmed that, Muvunyi is free to resume his training and will be allowed and supported to participate in competitions, both local and international, provided he meets the requirements.

“We (NPC-Rwanda) convened this month (December 16) and assessed his apology and after realizing that he had fulfilled what we had asked him, a decision was taken to allow him return to competition,” Mutangana said.

He added that, “This should serve as a lesson to other players so that they think about what to put in media before doing so.”

In a separate interview, Muvunyi said he was happy that he has been allowed to resume doing what he loves to do, which is competing at the highest level once again.

“I am happy for having been forgiven, now I must focus on working hard to regain my fitness before returning to competing at my best,” he noted.

Early last year, the 29-year-old had made it clear that he would hang up his running boots after competing at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games where he was hoping to get a medal, but unfortunately failed as he faltered in the 1500m and was disqualified in the 400m final.

He later changed his stance to return to competing but on condition that, “there are fundamental changes to inspire Paralympic athletes in the country.”

It’s at this stage that, NPC-Rwanda swung into action, telling Rwanda’s most successful Paralympian that he would not be allowed to compete again before he apologizes.

Muvunyi’s career

Muvunyi was introduced to Paralympic competitions in 2011, making his debut at the 2011 All-Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique where he won gold in the 400 metres and silver in 800m, which qualified him for the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

He then became the first Rwandan world champion after winning gold in the 800m T-46 at the International Paralympic Committee-Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France in 2013 before winning the 400m gold at the All Africa Games in Congo-Brazzaville in 2015.

The Kamonyi-born athlete added two more gold medals to his CV winning both the 400 and 800 metres at the 9th IPC Grand Prix de Tunis in March 2016. His last gold medal came in the 1500-metre T-46 during the Berlin Open Grand Prix in July in Germany.

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