East African Championships 2013: Rwanda and Kenya shine in Kigali
On Friday and Saturday the 22nd and 23rd of February, the Rwanda Taekwondo Federation hosted the East African Taekwondo Championships at the National Arena Petit Stade Amahoro of the city of Kigali (Rwanda).
The event, which had a total of 8 individual Men’s categories and 5 single Women’s divisions, was attended by officials and players from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, with each country being able to select only one player for category.
According to the position of their athletes, each country was awarded with a certain amount of points to create the final Team standings of both the Men’s and Women’s modalities. The total number of players participating in the championships was 57, 11 of which were women.
Rwanda won the Men’s Team Championships with 32 points, with Uganda taking the second place with 30 and Kenya completing the podium with 21. The fourth place was awarded to Burundi, who collected 20 points.
Rwanda’s National Coach, Martin Koonce, stated that all his athletes contributed to the final victory, but wanted to highlight the performance of one of them: Olivier Biraro. Biraro lost his first-round match and was about to withdraw from the tournament, but finally decided to go ahead. In the end, his perseverance led Biraro to achieve no less than 6 points for his country, taking the silver medal of the Men’s Light division. Koonce said that his character and perseverance show which the real traits of the Rwanda Taekwondo Team are.
On the other hand, Kenya took the first position of the Women’s Team Championships with a total of 26 points, with Rwanda clinching the second place with 19 and Uganda occupying the third step of the podium with 15. The Kenian athletes collected no less than 5 medals and proved to be really strong in all categories.
Regarding the individual performances, Rwandan male players took a total of 5 medals, including 4 golds, with special mention for Placide Bagabo of the Bantam division and Nzeyimana of the Feather category. Both came back from losses in last month’s Gorilla Open in Kigali and managed to win during last weekend. Nzeyimana’s final match for the last African Championships was a replay of the Gorilla Open final, but the result was exactly the opposite, with the Rwandan player taking the podium for the gold.
Rwanda’s 3 ladies all managed to win a medal in the EAC, collecting 2 golds and 1 silver in total. The performance of the 15-year-old Delphine Uwababyeyi, who took the gold at such a young age overcoming really strong players from Kenya, needs to be specially highlighted.
Both National Coach, Martin Koonce, and Federation President, David Hakizimana, were very pleased with their teams and thankful for the great performances. Coach Koonce said it was “a great day for Taekwondo in Rwanda”, as during the competition “the number of fans swelled to almost two thousand in the Petite Stade”. He was also very thankful for the attendance of the Honorable Minister of Sports and Culture, Mitali Protais, and the honorable Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea, Soon-Taik Hwang.
Dr. Hakizimana declared that it all far “exceeded his expectations” and he was “amazed that Rwanda Taekwondo has come so far in such a short time”. Coach Koonce particularly wanted to thank all Rwandan players and Africa Transformation Network, the teams’ only sponsor, for such an amazing event.
East African Taekwondo Championships 2013 – Complete results:
Gold: Uwababyeyi, Delphine (Rwanda)
Silver: Acacia Aggarwal(Kenya)
Bronze: Diana Serem (Kenya)
Gold: Mushabokazi, Zura (Rwanda)
Silver: Apai (Uganda)
Gold: Mary Muriu(Kenya)
Silver: Judith Aujo (Uganda)
Bronze: Athmani Mwanamisi (Kenya)
Gold: Stecy Gatiiyu (Kenya)
Silver: Joselyn Uwase (Rwanda)
Gold: Pamela Achiro (Uganda)
Gold: Ngala Harrison (Kenya)
Silver: Paul Leeroy (Uganda)
Bronze: Ezekiel Ngendakumana (Burundi)
Gold: Daniel Dziwe (Kenya)
Silver: Simon Okello (Uganda)
Bronze: Kanim Mulcoana (Uganda)
Gold: Placide Bagabo (Rwanda)
Silver: Andrew Mugisha (Uganda)
Bronze: Edward Hareremana (Burundi)
Gold: Nzeyimana (Rwanda)
Silver: Ntulage Badru (Uganda)
Bronze: Ronald Odoch (Uganda)
Gold: Derrick Banzubaze (Burundi)
Silver: Olivier Biraro (Rwanda)
Bronze: Bernard Mboniga (Uganda)
Gold: Egide Bamonyo
Gold: Innocent Ndikumana (Burundi)
Silver: Angode Omutonjelo (Kenya)
Bronze: Geoffrey Olanya (Uganda)
Gold: Jean Bosco Cyusa (Rwanda)
Medal counts: Gold – Silver – Bronze – Total
Uganda: 1 – 6 – 3 – 10
Rwanda: 6 – 2 – 0 – 8
Kenya: 4 – 3 – 1 – 8
Burundi: 2 – 2 – 0 – 4
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