BEIJING - Rwanda’s team for the Beijing Olympic Games returns today. The 13-man team arrives at Kigali international airport this morning (10am) aboard Ethiopian Airlines.
However, the team returns without Dieudonne Disi. The long distance ace flew to Europe to prepare for the IAAF Brussels Grand Prix as well as the 3rd edition of the World road running championship due in October in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The team which constituted two athletes; Disi and Epiphanie Nyirabarame and two swimmers; Jackson Niyomugabo and Pamela Girimbabazi continued with its Olympic Games medal drought after failing to make any solid shot in Beijing.
Disi, Rwanda’s major hope in the Games finished 19th in the men’s 10,000m track event which was won by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.
Nyirabarame, who captained the team finished in a distant 68th spot in the 42km marathon.
For the swimmers, they couldn’t even get to the heats after awful performances in the qualifiers.
Experience was of no significance to Girimbabazi, the most experienced member on the team following appearances in the 2000 Sydney Games as well as the 2004 Athens. She finished 14 seconds off the qualification cut.
The devastating performance is a wakeup call for the National Olympic Committee and Sports Ministry. It is increasingly becoming clear that the team cannot achieve anything as long as the preparations are below par.
Handing over the Olympic flag to London at the Games’ closing ceremony on Sunday does not only present London with the big task of organising the Games but it also serves as a wake up call to all national Olympic committees to start preparations for the 2012 Games.
London will become the first city to stage the Olympics for a third time in 2012.