Rwanda: Breakdancing Comes of Age in Rwanda After Olympics Approval

(file photo).

Breaking the official name for competitive breakdancing, will become an Olympic sport for the first time at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

The sport is one of four new sports approved by the International Olympics Committee (IOC)'s executive board in December last year as part of a broader decision on Paris 2024's event program and athlete quotas.

Surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing were also approved for Paris 2024, but all three events will also be a part of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

The approval of Breakdancing followed IOC's pursuit of urban events to lure a younger audience.

The introduction of Breaking was welcomed by dance enthusiasts in Rwanda as they seek for an organised coordination to make the sport worth exploring to the level that it can produce future representatives in the Olympic Games.

Breakers have been using the street dance to bring entertainment to Rwandan audiences over the past two decades and they are delighted that break dancing is now part of the Olympic events.

Seleman Kwizera, who has been a breaker since 2000 told Times Sport that the acceptance of Breaking in the Olympic Games is a move that should have not taken long for the Olympic Committee to think about given the impact that Breakdancing has not only in keeping people entertained but also help them maintain their fitness.

"To me, they [International Olympic Committee] was late to approve Breakdancing in the Olympic Games because it is one of the best entertaining sports of all. People think that the fact that Breaking goes hand in hand with the music department deprives it from being a sport but I put it in the same category as gymnastics or even Yoga and it is worth being part of the Olympics," he said.

Kwizera is regarded as one of the best performing breakers of his generation while dancing for Good Guys dance Crew which later rebranded to Machinery dance crew.

He was, however, discouraged by the fact that Breaking had no future despite investing a lot of efforts in promoting breakdancing in Kigali.

"It's good news for me because it is going to help people change their mindset about breakdancing. I believe getting the Olyimpcs badge will help people honor its value and start supporting budding young talents in Breakdancing," he added.

Establishing a federation

To make Breakdancing recognised sport in the country, local breakers are already considering establishing a Breaking federation in order to make the sport formal in the country.

Amani Kiwembe, a 26-year-old professional dancer based in Kigali, is the brains behind Kubasha Dance Crew whose dancer Haruna Habumugisha won a ticket to represent Rwanda at the forthcoming regional Rotation Dance Exchange (RED), a breakdancing competition that will take place in Tanzania, in August.

Kiwembe believes it is high time for local breakers to have an umbrella under which the sport can coordinate all Breaking-related activities.

He is positive there is a number of talented and creative dancers in different parts of the country who can grow their talent through which they can challenge other breakers on the global stage.

"There are breakers we trust can excel in break dance if they get professional training. As soon as the federation is established, we believe all these talented youth can be brought together and do great things for the future of this sport, especially in the Olympics," he said.

So far, he said, the idea to establish a Breakdancing federation has been discussed with the Ministry of Sports which alerted them that a feedback on their proposed move will be addressed in July this year.

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