Sport is and will always be an important part of any community and plays a big role not only in promoting a healthy life but also in promoting quality education as well as contributing to integration and collaboration.
This was observed by Olivier Rwamukwaya, the Minister of State for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, while officially closing the 15th edition of the annual Federation of East Africa Secondary School Sports Associations (FEASSSA) Games at Ubworoherane Stadium in Musanze District on Sunday.
The ceremony was also attended by his Ugandan counterpart Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo, the Minister of State for Higher Education who was accompanied by six members of the parliament.
Rwandan schools which took part in the regional competitions, won 25 medals – including eight gold medals – in various disciplines.
The 10-day event came to a climax on Sunday as Rwanda’s Lycee de Kigali lost 3-4 to Buddo Secondary School (Uganda) in the boys’ football final. The game had ended in a goalless stalemate during the regular 90 minutes and 30 minutes of extra-time.
The home teams managed 8 gold medals, 9 silver medals and 8 bronze medals, respectively.
Rwanda demonstrated exceptional performance at volleyball and football in primary schools category as well as at handball and volleyball in secondary schools’ fray.
Uganda emerged as the overall winner with 30 medals, two ahead of Kenya.
According to the patron of FEASSSA, Charles Chacha, this year’s Games were incident-free and have rather been “memorable and historical” thanks to the preparatory efforts invested by the government of Rwanda.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Rwamukwaya said that the competition was an opportunity for member states to reap the fruits of regional integration.
“Students from East African Primary and Secondary Schools have played together different sports disciplines and this helps to strengthen cooperation and cultural exchange within the East Africa Community,” Rwamukwaya underscored.
He further stressed that the Government of Rwanda appreciates that FEASSSA embraces the ideals of fair play, integrity, dignity and ethical conduct, and mutual respect among competitors.
The minister commended the teamwork spirit created during the just-concluded FEASSSA Games and urged participating countries to “initiate a monitoring and evaluation system that will help to measure the progress to keep this momentum.”
For the first time, the competitions attracted primary schools, and the FEASSSA secretariat has promised that, effective next year, primary schools will be a key component of the competition games and festivals along with the championship of people with disability – which will be played for the first time.
This year’s edition attracted 1,982 students and 250 officials from Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.