The Egyptian Karate expert in charge of Rwanda’s national squad has said the team is ready to win big at the upcoming continental championships in Kigali.
Starting Tuesday, preliminary preparatory meetings begin in Kigali as Rwanda readies to host the 17th African Seniors Karate Championships and the 9th African Juniors Karate Championships, for the very first time. The first matches begin on Friday.
The Egyptian, Hashim Mahmoud Mohamed Hashim, who arrived on July 12, wants to make a good impression.
He said: “Despite the limited time, the team is in fairly good shape. These players want to do the best they can for their country. They won two medals in Algeria, that is silver and bronze and we hope to win more medals now.”
At the 3rd African Youth Games in Algeria, last month, Halifa Niyitanga, 18, and Jovia Umunezero, 17, won bronze and silver respectively in fighting (kumité). Uwamahoro’s silver was celebrated being the first for Rwanda in an international event.
“But this championship is difficult; it is 23 or 24 countries, including Egypt, competing, and that is a big number.”
But the undeterred Hashim hopes he will make history for Rwanda and “for me as a coach.”
“I want to return to my country with a good record.”
The national team’s vice captain, Christian Rurangayire, 25, who is one of the few experienced senior players on the team, cannot wait for the games to start.
Rurangayire said: “We are happy and ready to go. Morale is high and we’ve young players with a brighter future. We worked so hard with the aim of making Rwanda proud.
“We have a chance and we shall grab it. There is a good spirit and we are all aiming for gold. No one is thinking bronze, unlike in the past. It’s the first time I feel such vigor, and mindset.”
Rurangayire previously represented Rwanda in other international competitions along with team captain Vanilly Ngarambe, 25, and very few others on the current squad of 30.
The Continental Championships will be held at the Intare Conference Arena in Rusororo.