The New Times (Kigali)

19 October 2012

Rwanda: Slow Pace of Preparations for Continental Event

Photo: Ludwick Mamabolo/Facebook
Athletes (file photo): The African Junior Athletics Championship is expected to take place in June next year.

RWANDA was given the nod to host next year's African Junior Athletics Championships; however, preparations to host a successful event on time are at a slow pace.

Kigali was awarded the rights in June, this year, during the African Senior Athletics Championship in Benin. Rwanda was represented by National Athletics Federation's Jean Damascène Nkezabo and the Director of Sports in the Ministry of Sports, Emmanuel Bugingo.

Reliable sources intimate that the event will be held in either May or June, next year, and it will cost the government a multi-million budget.

Rwanda needs to have a stadium, fitted with the state-of-the-art facilities which can be used for all events. Besides that, the country must also have a modern training stadium for the athletes.

Apart from funds and facilities, the local federation which has the backing of the Ministry of Sports and Culture, must assemble a strong team, a competent technical organization, hotels, and security and communication facilities in readiness for the event.

However, with just seven months before the championship, there is no sign of organisation to show of.

When contacted yesterday, both Bugingo and Nkezabo had little to comment on the matter, deciding to keep their cards close to their chest.

Bugingo said, "The responsible authorities are handling the issue and very soon Rwandans will be informed how far the organisation has reached."

However, on his part, Nkezabo said, "There is nothing to report about because we are still at the planning stage. Nonetheless, by the end of this month, we will have substantial information for the media."

It will be the first time Rwanda hosts a continental athletics competition and it would mark a big milestone for the local athletics federation which has been a beehive for endless internal wrangles and embezzlement of funds over the past couple of years.

Rwanda successfully hosted the U-20 and U-17 African Youth Championships in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

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