The President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Dame Louise Martin DBE has praised Rwanda’s sporting culture and said the country is not far from being ready to host the Commonwealth Games.
She said she was confident that Rwanda will in the future host the Commonwealth Games, considering how enthusiastic the country is about sports in general.
She was yesterday addressing a news conference on the sidelines of the 2019 CGF General Assembly in Kigali.
None of the 19 African Commonwealth member countries has hosted the Games since they were first held in 1930.
Rwanda became a member of the Commonwealth in 2009, becoming only the second country with no colonial ties to Britain – after Mozambique – to join the club.
The country is set to host Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next year.
“Rwanda is a beautiful place, I am confident that you will one day in the future host one (the Games) and I look forward to it,” Martin said when asked on the possibility of Rwanda hosting the Commonwealth Games.
She pointed out that the partnership between Rwanda and Commonwealth is promising, a factor she said is one of the prerequisites for hosting the Games.
The Commonwealth Games are held every four years.
However, Martin said that there is more yet to be done in terms of infrastructure development, noting that such investments are useful even after such a major sporting event.
Martin observed that she and her delegation were impressed with how Rwandans of all ages are committed to sports, singling out the bimonthly car-free day during which citizens come together at different locations for physical exercise.
The president of the Rwanda Commonwealth Games Association, Amb. Valens Munyabagisha, said that the Rwandan government is willing to take concrete steps to make the country eligible for hosting Commonwealth Games in the future.
“The Government is interested in Rwanda hosting major games, and the (construction of the) Kigali Arena is testament to that commitment,” he said.
He added: “I can’t say that today or tomorrow we’ll be ready to host Commonwealth Games because there are things we’re still lacking, but what I’m sure of is that it won’t take us long to do so.”