Youth, Culture and Sport Minister, Joseph Habineza has blasted Olympic committee boss Ignace Beraho over the latter’s comments against national star athlete, Dieudonné Disi.
Beraho, who is the president of Rwanda National Olympic Committee (RNOC), accused Disi of being ‘street runner’ in Europe last year.
He accuses the 5000m, 10.000m and half marathon national record holder of diverting from the original mission of preparing for the Olympic Games and instead he’s ‘busy running on various streets of Europe for money’, as he put.
But Habineza who addressed a press conference on Wednesday at Amahoro Stadium said Beraho’s comments against the athlete, a national symbol, were ridiculous.
“Beraho’s comments on Disi were untrue. How can a (whole) RNOC boss say Disi spends his time running on streets of Europe?
“Disi wins while wearing Rwanda’s uniform and he has brought pride to Rwanda due to his better performances. Those were unfair comments and that should be stopped,” Habineza remarked.
Last year, Beraho accused Disi, 27, of diverting from his original mission of preparing for this year’s Olympic Games but just ‘busy making money in Europe’.
Beraho had some misunderstandings with Disi last year, a feat which also resulted in RNOC accusing Disi of failing to account for the Olympic solidarity funds.
This also resulted in the International Olympic Committee freezing its sponsorship to the 27-year-old ahead of the Olympic Games due in August in the Chinese city of Beijing.
The international Olympic body through their Olympic Solidarity Fund programme, on recommendation from Beraho, cut-off his sponsorship.
According to RNOC boss, the money was frozen due to the athlete’s failure to account for the money he used for the last quota.
Disi was supposed to get $19.000 (about Frw10.5M) from the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Fund to facilitate his preparations for this year’s Olympic Games. He only received $4300 (approx. Frw2.3 millions) before the remaining chunk was frozen.
However, this didn’t hinder his preparations as he is the only Rwandan athlete who beat the minimum qualification mark for the Games with his time of 27:22:23 in 10.000m at the Memorial Van Damme race held in Belgium last year.
This also helped him to surpass the minimum required standard 'A' time (for the Games) 27:50.00. The former RDF Kadogo is preparing to take part in the Puerto Rico half marathon race due on February 3 before heading for the Dubai International half marathon race a week later.
Despite his fall-out with the RNOC boss and the consequent freezing of his sponsorship by IOC, Disi proved his critics wrong by winning a number of international road races much to his critics loathe.