Rwanda gives up on more Beijing qualifiers
The National Olympics Committee have given up any hopes of having more Rwandan athletes qualify for next month’s Beijing Olympic Games, Times Sport has reliably learnt.
Consequently, the country of close to nine millions people will be represented by just four athletes, among them two runners and two swimmers.
The inevitable was acknowledged by a high ranking official in the Rwanda National Olympics Committee, who however, did not want to be named.
“We don’t have any further hopes of qualifying more athletes for the Games, that’s for sure. Which leaves us with only the four that have already qualified,” the official admitted.
In the last two months, there has been a last-minute deliberate attempt by the local NOC to trot some athletes around the Africa and Europe in an effort to see whether they could attain the minimum standard times for the Beijing Games.
And with just 36 days remaining before the Games get underway on August 8-24, the official acknowledged that none of those athletes has got any chance of achieving that feat.
He said, “Angéline Nyiransabimana (10.000 and 5.000m) is currently training in Europe but I don’t think she can attain the minimum while Slyvain Rukundo (5.000m) is in the country and signs are that, he has no chance of qualifying.”
Asked what he thinks could be the reason for Rwanda to have the smallest number of participants in the Olympic Games in the after 1994 Genocide era.
The official said, “It’s a complex predicament, which comes as a result of the general lack of coordination among all stake holders.”
“For four years, the individual federations, the Olympics Committee and the sports ministry have not come up with a uniform program aimed at preparing athletes for the Olympics.
“And as a result, everyone sits and waits in hope that the other will take the initiative and by the time they all realize that nothing is being done, it’s already too late to do anything,” he continued.
Dieudonné Disi (10.000m) and Epiphanie Nyirabarame (marathon) and two swimmers have qualified for the Games scheduled for August 8-24 in the Chinese city of Beijing.
The Olympic Games is the most prestigious multi-sports gathering and the essence for these games is necessarily not to win but participate hence the slogan, ‘Participation is more important that winning’.
At the Sydney Games in 2000, Rwanda was represented by five including three athletes and two swimmers while at the last Games in Athens, the number increased to six (four athletes and two swimmers).
The problem with those concerned with preparing local athletes for the Olympic Games, wait until when it’s entirely too late to start doing things appallingly and in the process to make up for the time lost and things end up going all wrong.