African beach volleyball champs
Rwanda Vs Mauritius
Rwanda Vs Sierra Leone
Rwanda 2-0 Botswana
Rwanda 2-0 South Africa
RWANDA has secured tickets to the 2019 Beach Volleyball World Championships, both in men and women’s categories, after reaching the last four at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Nigeria.
It is for the first time that Rwanda has qualified both teams to the world’s biggest beach volleyball meet after only the ladies team represented the country and continent at its 2017 edition in Vienna, Austria.
This year’s world championships runs from June 28 to July 7 in Hamburg, Germany.
Seeking to retain the title, which Rwanda won two years ago in Mozambique, Charlotte Nzayisenga and Benitha Mukandayisenga were the first to progress to semi-finals on Thursday after dominating Botswana in straight sets 21-9, 21-10 at Jabi Lake Park in Abuja.
Moments later, their compatriots Olivier Ntagengwa and Patrick Kavalo Akumuntu took to the sand for their clash against South Africa in the round of last eight, which they also won in two sets 21-18, 21-17 to advance to semi-finals.
Patrick Kavalo Akumuntu (L) and Olivier Ntagengwa celebrate after ousting South Africa in quarter-finals on Thursday. Courtesy.
Unlike in the past editions where Africa sent four teams, the continent will be represented by eight teams (four in each gender category) at the 2019 world championships.
Ntagengwa and Kavalo had stormed into quarter-finals on Wednesday after finishing second in Group D, while Rwanda topped Group A, which also included Niger and Algeria, in the women’s category.
Speaking to Times Sport in a telephone interview after guiding the two teams to semi-finals, excited head coach Paul Bitok said that he had confidence in both sides to reach the finals.
In Friday’s semi-finals, the Rwandan teams face Mauritius (women) and Sierra Leone (men), respectively, for spots to title matches due on Saturday.