RWANDA’s women sitting volleyball team has sealed their slot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, in Japan, after beating Egypt to win the African championships on Tuesday.
As was the case during the quadrennial event’s 2016 edition in Brazil, Rwanda will be the sole African team in women’s sitting volleyball at the Games.
In the match that lasted two hours at Amahoro Indoor Stadium, Rwanda fought back to win the thrilling game in four sets after losing the opening set 25-22.
Coached by Egypt-born tactician Mosaad Rashad Elaiuty, the Rwandan side quickly regrouped to go level 1-1 with a hard-fought 28-26 second set. The hosts went on to dominate the third set 25-15 before putting the game to bed with another effortless 25-18 fourth set.
Rwanda retained the African championships title for a third consecutive time – after 2015 and 2017 – with a perfect 5:5 win ratio, having beaten Kenya and Egypt twice each in the preliminaries on Sunday and Monday.
In a post-match interview, visibly excited skipper Lillian Mukobwankabo said, “We are very happy to be African champions again, and to seal our ticket to the Paralympics.”
“This is a glorious moment for everyone on the team.”
Meanwhile, the men’s team begin their quest for a ticket to Tokyo 2020 on Thursday when they face Kenya in the opener of the men’s tournament, which will run through September 22 at Amahoro Stadium.
Rwanda has been placed in the same pool as Kenya and Morocco, while the other group comprises Egypt, South Africa, and Algeria.
The hosts, Rwanda, and Egypt are widely seen as the top challengers for Africa’s sole ticket to next year’s Paralympic Games in men’s sitting volleyball.