23 September 2016

Rwanda: Paralympian Muvunyi Announces Retirement

Photo: New Times
Hermas Muvunyi (file photo)

Rwanda's most decorated Paralympian Hermas Muvunyi has announced his retirement after a glittering nine-year career.

At only 28 years, Muvunyi had made it clear last month that he would hang up his running boots after competing at the just concluded 2016 Rio Paralympic Games where he was hoping to get a medal, but unfortunately failed.

Despite failing to win a Paralympic medal, the only major competition he failed to win a medal, after faltering in the 1500m and being disqualified in the 400m final, Muvunyi confirmed to Times Sport on Wednesday that the Rio Paralympics were his final shot and he wants to leave the stage for the younger talents.

"I was very disappointed that I could not win a medal in Rio and at some stage in the aftermath, I contemplated reversing my decision to retire, but I after a few days, I decided this is the right time for me to leave the stage," said Muvunyi.

In Rio, Muvunyi finished fifth in 1500m T-46 clocking 4:05:19, a Personal Best time before again finishing in fifth place in the 400m final clocking 49 seconds and nine micro seconds, only to be informed after the race that he stepped outside his lane, an offence punishable by disqualification.

He added that, "I really put in all my effort in both competitions; however I think that is how best I could go, it is a bad feeling but I have to accept the fact that it wasn't my time to win a Paralympic medal."

Born on December 3, 1988 in Kamonyi District, Southern Province, Muvunyi began his career in 2007 with Kamonyi Athletics Club from where he joined APR the following year.

His first major international competition was the 17th IAAF Championships Africa that was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2010.

In 2011, he was introduced to the Para-competitions, making his debut at the All-Africa Games in 2011 in Maputo where he won gold in the 400 meters and a silver medal in 800m hence qualifying for the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

In 2013, Muvunyi became the first Rwandan world champion after winning gold in the 800m T-46 at the IPC-Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France before winning gold again, this time in the 400m T-46 at the All Africa Games in Brazzaville.

In March this year, the Kamonyi-born athlete won gold medals in both the 400 and 800 meters at the 9th IPC Grand Prix de Tunis.

Muvunyi's last gold medal came in July in the 1500 meter T-46 during the Berlin Open Grand Prix in Germany after clocking four minutes and 14 seconds.

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