Swimming body unveils plans to overhaul sport in Rwanda

Female swimmers dive into the pool during a past competition at Hill Top Hotel in Remera. File photo.

Rwanda Swimming Federation has unveiled plans to overhaul the sport in Rwanda with the introduction of new tournaments and setting up development programmes for next year.

Samuel Kinimba, the swimming body president, says that the new competitions are mainly aimed at talent detection, making the sport accessible to all and introducing youngsters to professional swimming at grassroots level.

“The revised calendar is hinged on ensuring that we have qualified coaches who are able to build a solid foundation for our young swimmers. We want to propel swimming to the medal brackets,” he noted.

Starting next year, an inter-school talent detection competition will be organized for U-17 swimmers in both gender categories – boys and girls. According to Kinimba, the tournament will start in February and run through May across different parts of the country.

The swimming body official also revealed that late this year, Rwanda’s inaugural Open Water Swimming Championship will be staged Rubavu, tentatively on December 15.

He also said that, for the first, there will be held a Special Holiday Youth Championship on December 23 at Cercle Sportif de Kigali, and is only designed for U21 swimmers.

The 2019 national women’s swimming championship is scheduled for February 2019 while the Genocide Memorial Tournament will be staged in July. The latter also welcomes foreign teams.

However, Kinimba has also acknowledged that the revised calendar of swimming events will be financially demanding on top of the lack of enough swimming facilities.

“Swimming facilities continue to be a big challenge for the development of the sport in Rwanda, that’s where a big portion of our budget go – paying hotels for access to swimming pools. Hopefully one day we will be able to have our own facilities,” he pointed out.

Kinimba also urged schools and universities to form swimming clubs, and called for support and partnership from different institutions in the journey to revolutionize the sport in Rwanda.

Apart from Thousand Kilos Women Canoe and Aquatics Sports Club that were established two years ago, Kigali Swimming Club has also since been established, by Green Hills Academy.

Times Sport understands that Rusizi Swimming Club and Nyarutarama-based Portofino Kigali Swimming Club are in the registration process.