Local tennis star Hamisi Gatete has said he is optimistic on putting up a strong fight in bid for retaining the tennis Genocide Memorial Tournament (GMT) title this year.
Like most other sports federations in the country, in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and culture, the local tennis governing body will, in June, organize the annual tournament in honour of the sportsmen and women who lost their lives during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Talking to Times Sport on Thursday, Philbert Ndugu, the Technical Director of Rwanda Tennis Federation, confirmed that the tournament will happen in June, but exact dates were yet to be determined.
“We are yet to fix the dates, but the tournament will take place under a new executive committee of the federation. We are holding elections for a new committee on April 20,” said Ndugu.
Gatete, 26, won the 2018 Tennis GMT title last June after overcoming Dieudonné Habiyambere in a three-set thriller (6-1, 1-6, 6-4) in the final.
“I have started early training for the competition, with optimism to retain the title I won last year,” Gatete told this publication in a separate interview.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge, certainly with every contender seeking to dethrone me.”
He also added that he wants to play one or two competitions before the GMT showpiece and use them as part of his preparations.
DR Congo-born Nancy Onya, the only foreign participant at last year’s edition, overpowered Rwanda’s topseed Magame Ingabire in straight sets 6-0 and 6-2 to lift the title, in women’s category, for a second year running.
Last year, the multi-category competition attracted a total of 136 participants.
Besides tennis, other memorial tournaments this year, come June, will include cycling, basketball, taekwondo, kung-fu, swimming, handball and volleyball.