The 29th August marks the beginning of the Paralympics that take place in London, Britain after the conclusion of the summer Olympics that were, to say the least, not the best of the country’s performance. Right from day one when Yannick Sekamana stepped into the ring in Judo, to the ultimate day of Adrien Niyonshuti’s mountain bike cycling event, everything seemed to be going wrong. Yannick was beaten by Brazilian Bruno Mendonca while Adrien finished 39th place, more than 13 minutes behind winner Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic.
Others who followed suit include swimmers Jackson Niyomugabo and Alphonsine Agahozo who never made it past the first round while marathon runner Jean Pierre Mvuyekure and long distance runners Robert Kajuga and Claudette Mukasakindi (both 10,000m) all put up a shadowy performance to the frustration of the many Rwandan followers. So what next? The summer Olympics served as a wakeup call for the upcoming Paralympics games that kick off in less than a week’s time and hoping ample preparations have been made, the team is heavily tipped to perform better.
The squad which consists of sitting volleyball team, 400m and 800m runner Hermans Muvunya, 1500m runner Theoneste Nsengimana and power lifter Theogene Hakizimana will more than brush aside our Olympics blues should they win a medal. The sitting volleyball team will set the stage rolling against defending champions Iran in their opening fixture while Brazil and China whom they share the group will be waiting.
But realistically speaking though, the summer Olympics did teach us a few invaluable lessons that cannot be forgotten. If ever there was anyone who expected a medal from a team that consisted of some athletes who obtained their minima as late as one week before the games began, then that would be living in total oblivion. Hopefully, the Paralympics team will salvage the image of the country and do the absolute opposite.