Over twenty-five participants have registered to take part in the upcoming squash competition, taking place this weekend at Cercle Sportif de Kigali.
The two-day tourney is due Saturday and Sunday at the Rugunga-based sports facility.
In an interview with Times Sport on Wednesday, Bosco Sebabi, the chairman of Rwanda Squash, said that the main objective of the competition is to make Squash known as a new entry in the Rwandan sports arena.
“Squash is still new to many in Rwanda. This competition is aimed at raising awareness about it, and encouraging young people to try it out,” Sebabi said.
He added: “We have players who have been representing the country in different regional tournaments – so far in Tanzania and Kenya – but they are still few. We need more players, and the sport needs to spread to schools and other areas beyond Kigali.”
Sebabi also revealed that during the tournament, there will be a Canadian squash player, Justin Todd, to mentor young players.
“We don’t have a registered federation yet, and that has been a big challenge. We are mobilizing the formation of clubs – at least three – so we can start the process of registration.”
So far in the country, squash is only played at three venues; Cercle Sportif de Kigali, Kigali Golf Club in Nyarutarama and at the UR–School of Finance and Economics, in Gikondo.
Christian Ishimwe is seeded no 2 in the country, and has been playing squash for the last ten years. He says that squash requires physical and mental fitness, and it is a fun sport.
“Next month (Jan. 2020) we will travel to Belgium for a big competition,” said the player-coach in a separate interview with this publication. “Squash is fun, but it also physical and mental fitness. I encourage young people to come enjoy it.”
The Squash Federation of Africa (SFA) was set up in 1992 and regulates the sport on the continent. As of 2012, SFA has 19 members.
Former Botswana no 1, Johnston Gomolemo, is currently in the country and urged more girls – and youths in general – to take up squash in Rwanda.
“There is a need for a school program to be introduced in Rwanda,” she said.
“If the sport is not close to children, then it will be hard to gain momentum.”