BY HAMZA NKUUTU
& BONNIE MUGABE
The All-Africa Games bound, Team Rwanda has travelled for a two-day training camp in the Burundian capital Bujumbura as part of it’s preparations for the African prime event slated for July 11-23 in Algiers, Algeria.
The 31-man delegation left Kigali at midday yesterday by road aboard Yahoo Car Express and is expected to return home on Monday.
Among the 31 are; 13 mainstream athletes, two Paralympics athletes, six cyclists, three tennis players, five coaches, one physiotherapist and Claver Pierre Rwaka as head of the delegation.
The Rwandan teams will play a series of build-up games against their Burundian counterparts today and tomorrow before returning home on Monday to start residential training.
However, the mainstream athletics team travelled minus their captain Dieudonne Disi and Angeline Nyiransabimana, while tennis travelled with a make-shift side in the absence of the actual players who were selected for the Algiers Games.
Disi is currently in Europe fine-tuning his pace ahead of the Games while two of the Algiers-bound tennis team players Eric Hagenimana and Aude Wanden Mwali are also out of the country.
Meanwhile, after weeks of uncertainty, Goalball has been included on the list of disciplines in which Rwanda will be represented.
The list now comes to five disciplines after tennis, cycling, mainstream athletics and athletics for the disabled.
However, boxers have seen their hopes of participating in the Algiers Games dashed after their request was turned down by the ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports.
Goalball and boxing had initially not been selected for the Games despite the fact that they had received invitations from the Games organizers and Africa Boxing Confederation [ABC] respectively.
“Goalball is a collective sport but unfortunately there were no zonal qualifiers for them because there were no teams,” said the director of sports in the Sports ministry Gaspard Kaijuka.
He disclosed that, “When the Games organizers checked with teams that had registered to participate in the zonal qualifiers, Rwanda was among them and they decide to invite us.”
“But for boxing, they missed the zonal qualifiers but were given a chance to go to Madagascar [for the Africa Championship] and they didn’t perform well, now how do they expect to convince people that things will be different in Algiers,” he wondered.
Kaijuka noted that the Africa Council of Sports under which the All Africa Games fall is a thing of government and so it’s upon an individual government through the Sports ministry to choose which sport to take [for the Games].
“Individual federations have no right to request for an invitation [like Rwanda Amateur Boxing Association did] instead, the onus lies in the hands of the government,” he declared.