The World knows that Rwanda is rising from the ashes of the country’s unfortunate genocide in several spheres. We can report from Lagos, Nigeria that table tennis is not left out of this remarkable Rwandan Renaissance, as the quartet of Niyonizigiye Eric, Bushema Aime, Kayitare Elie and Ishinwe Francois Regis showed yesterday by winning their country’s first ever medal in continental table tennis tournament – and on their debut too! Rather than merely making up the numbers at this continental meet, these brave hearts have made it to the medals range by berthing in the semi-finals of the championship.
Debutant Rwanda Wins Historic First Medal
Kaduna, North-West, NIGERIA
A few years back, Rwanda was not even active on the African table tennis circuit scene. Then John Bosco Birungi took office as President, Rwanda Table Tennis Federation (RTTF). Elie, who is a player/coach for the team in Lagos,stated: “Since 2016 when a new leader took over RTTF, things have started looking up for table tennis. Now schools are supported with equipment while coaches are also sent to schools to train students.
“We had also organized a regional tournament which fire up interest in table tennis. Under the new leadership of John Bosco Birungi, table tennis will continue to grow and we will be able to rub shoulders with some of the best in the continent.
“We never imagined we could mount the podium in our first outing at the African Club Championships and it is a good feeling. With this feat, the Ministry of Sports will give more support to table tennis.
Our federation has indeed tried to raise the fortunes of the sport and we hope this performance in Lagos will bring good tidings to the sport in Rwanda.” Regis said: “Coming to Lagos and playing against some of the best players in Africa has given me confidence that with more practice I can be among the best in the continent. I am particularly excited about meeting my best player in Africa, Aruna Quadri, who has been an inspiration to a lot of us.
He is such a humble player whose attitude on and off the table has been motivating to us.”
An elated RTTF boss Birungi, said:
“As President of RTTF, I’m happy that in our first major continental event we are going home with the bronze medal, I’m extremely proud of the boys!
This is a great achievement and is a result of the hard work which RTTF has put into the game over the past three years. And it’s something that the younger kids in Rwanda who are starting to learn about the game can look up to as they develop.”