27 December 2012

Rwanda: Worst Year for Local Boxing

Rwanda Amateur Boxing Association is one of the most sporting federations in the country that was one can undoubtedly describe as Rwanda's most hopeless sports body.

A poorly managed federation which cannot be able to come up and implement an exhaustive annual plan is how best we can describe this federation which has struggled to put the interest of its athletes ahead in the name of lack of funding.

Boxing, which is doing relatively well in the neighboring countries, is still struggling to take root locally despite being in existence since 1996.

Every year, this federation blames lack of funding as the main problem that has hindered its development. But there are many factors that affect this body including lack of a general vision, poor organisation and lack of sponsorship accompanied by incompetent administrators, who don't have any sporting managerial ability.

The federation solely relies on the Ministry of Sports and Culture and the Olympics Committee for funding but these organs only intervene on matters of national interest-when a national team is set to compete in African or Worldwide competitions.

That lack of funding also has a big impact on capacity building among those running the sport.

The federation is comprised of few clubs such as Kimisagara, Remera, Inkuba, No Limits and Masaka Boxing Club and they too are struggling to stay in existence.

And this situation obviously has also resulted in a lack of qualified coaches, with the few current around doing it as volunteers.

Nothing is done to even attract sponsors but they will keep on begging when the year starts until the end-no initiative can be done and this leads to the deterioration of the sport.

Former national team boxers like Benon Kalisa, agree that the main problem staling boxing in the country is the lack of organisation and sponsorship.

"I got frustrated with the federation because they never seemed to be able to get their act together," noted Kalisa, who hang up his gloves in 1998 to go into private business.

And Daniel Nsengiyumva, a former boxer, also thinks there is a fundamental problem with the guys running the federation.

"The people in the federation are not sufficiently devoted to the sport," he arges.

Yet, there may be hope since the world boxing body, AIBA, since always facilitates Rwanda's representative at AIBA competitions.

This year, one national championships was held in June, and they never had any representation in regional, African and global championships.

The only attempt was to send national light-welterweight champion Maurice Bikorimana to compete in AIBA Africa Olympics qualification tournament which was held in Casablanca, Morocco, but it also couldn't happen on the last minute when he stopped from travelling for a reason the federation gave as 'lack of training'. The tournament was also aimed at qualifying boxers at the London's Olympic Games.

In April, they were due to host boxers from neighbours Kenya and Burundi in build-up fights aimed at fine tuning pugilists ahead of the African Olympic qualifying event due in Morocco but lack of funding stopped the event from taking place in Kigali.

In November, the federation failed to come up with a decision on whether they could send a team to the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships which was held Yerevan.

The inability of managers to meet on time because they all gave priority to their personal affairs and forgot the federation's affairs.

It is not that the country doesn't have able boxers but poor organisation has left even the few talented boxers frustrated. They see no future in the sport if there is no improvement in the management affairs of the federation.

Some of the boxers that the country boosts include light welterweight Theo Gakunzi and David Nsabimana (feather weight 57kg), light welter (64kg) Maurice Sibomana, light weight (60kg) Sibomana Niyitegeka, light Welter (64kg) Jean Maurice Bikorimana, welter weight (69kg) the duo of Theoneste Gakunzi and Siraha Nizeyimana, feather weight (57kg) Salim Kwizera and light fly (48kg) Haziza Matusi.

As we hope for an improvement in 2013, there was nothing to cheer in boxing in 2012.

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