It was somehow appropriate that time for Rwanda’s swimmers at the ongoing Beijing Olympic Games expired at the national aquatics centre in circumstances of pure farce. It was symbolic of a spell that promised so little and delivered exactly the same.
Rwanda’s two swimmers, Jackson Niyomugabo and Pamela Girimbabazi failed to make a positive impression as they could not get past the preliminary phase.
Believe it or not winning an Olympic medal takes more than just enough preparations yet Rwanda two representatives at the Beijing Games didn’t even have two full months of training!
If truth is to be said, the pair was not fit enough to participate in such competitions in the first place leave alone being good enough to be the best choice to represent the country but with the politics in the National Olympics Committee, very little comes by surprise.
It was Girimbabazi’s third appearance at the Olympic Games having participated in the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 yet on all the three occasions, she fails to go past the very first hurdle.
Now, I wonder is there any more need to have the same individual representing the country without any bringing any tangible results?
As for debutant Niyomugabo, it’s excusable for the poor guy who, prior to these Games had never competed on such a big stage, not to mention the fact that he had never swum in a pool more than 25 meters in length.
The only good news from the pair failure is that none of them finished last in their respective heats—Niyomugabo finished second and Girimbabzi came third. Good, eh…
It’d not be right to criticize the swimmers for their failure given their pathetic preparations, which wasn’t of their own fault but rather the administrators at the National Olympics Committee, particularly Igance Beraho (NOC boss) and Thierry Ntwali (Rwandan team Chief de mission) whose major objective was to take the swimmers to Beijing just to make number other than winning medals.
There is no swimming federation in the country, however, after realizing they were taking just two participants for the Games (Dieudonne Disi and Epiphanie Nyirabarame), Beraho and Ntwali rushed through the process of including the two swimmers so that the number increases to four.
And remaining Rwandan flag bearers, Disi (10.000m) and Nyirabarame (women marathon) are in action today yet chances of any of them winning a medal are as remote as local sports administrators learning to learn from past mistakes.
Of the two, only Disi stands an outside chance of doing better but not winning a medal—he’s not good enough to challenge the field filled with top class runners, particularly Ethiopians, Eritreans and Kenyan’s who have dominated this distance for decades.
For him to become the first to Rwandan Olympic medal winner (if you ignore Jean de Dieu Nkundabera who won bronze at the Athens Paralympics four years ago), he will have to beat the like of Uganda’s Boniface Kiprop, Kenya’s Martin Mathathi, Micah Kogo, Moses Masai, Kenenisa Bekele, Sileshi Sihine, Ibrahim Jeylan, Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadesse, Teklemariam and Kidane and 1996 USA as well as 2000 Sydney10000m gold medallist Haile Gebrselassie.
Tough task for the former RDF Kadogo but one he would take pleasure in as it gives him the opportunity to gauge himself against the best in the world—one thing I have learnt about Disi is his desire for big challenges and they don’t come any bigger than at the Olympics.
Wish him luck…
Best English Premier League season ever?
Now that the English Premier League is back after about 92 days recess, we’re going to have something to keep us busy on weekends.
Premier League clubs have spent (and still spending) hundreds of millions of dollars on new players but are also selling big stars to balance their books.
Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are among the biggest spenders this close season as they seek to snatch the Premier League crown from Manchester United but even mid table clubs like Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Manchester City, and Newcastle United are spending big as they push for a place in Europe.
Even Bolton, Fulham, Hull City are spending large chunk of money trying to assemble squads capable of remaining afloat in Europe’s biggest league.
So, does that mean this season is going to be the best we’ve had since the Premiership was formed 16 years ago?
I guess of yes. Why? My gut feeling tells me Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are going into the new season with renewed vigor and more hunger to wrestle the title from Manchester United than ever before.