Taekwondo body turns focus to All-Africa Games after World Champs nightmare

Placide Bagabo, a former national team captain, is current president of Rwanda Taekwondo Federation. File.

Rwanda Taekwondo Federation (RTF) has turned attention to the 2019 All-Africa Games, which are due in August in Morocco, following the national team’s under-par performance at the just-concluded world championships in England.

The country was made to wait for another year to attempt winning a medal in World Taekwondo Championships after Benon Kayitare (U-54kg category), Vincent Munyakazi (U-68kg) and Jean Paul Sekanyambo (U-58 kg) were all seen off in their respective first round bouts.

Placide Bagabo, the RTF president, who had accompanied the trio alongside head coach Allain Irené Bagire, admits that Rwandan fighters played against stronger opponents and were trounced, but also learned important lessons.

“We picked vital lessons,” he told Times Sport on Tuesday.

The former national team captain, who was the first Rwandan to compete at the world’s biggest taekwondo showpiece in 2013, also noted that “Our players lacked concentration and tactical experience to manage their fights. There are a few things we need to get right before we can dream of medals in such competitions.”

After the dismal showing in Manchester, Bagabo is confident that the taekwondo body and the national technical team can quickly shift focus on this year’s All-Africa Games, and ensure that “this time we win medals.”

The 12th edition of the quadrennial All-Africa Games is due on August 19-31 in Rabat, Morocco.