The Paralympic Committee of Rwanda is aiming to send its largest ever Paralympic team to Rio for the 2016 Summer Paralympics. In 2012, Rwanda sent its biggest ever team when they sent 15 competitors including track and field competitors Hermas Muvunyi and Theoneste Nsengimana, powerlifter Theogene Hakizimana, and men’s sitting volleyball team players Emile Vuningabo, Eric Ngirinshuti, Fulgence Hagenimana, Jean Baptiste Gahamanyi, Jean Bosco Ngizwenimana, Callixte Twagirayezu, Jean Baptiste Murema, Jean Rukundo, Vincent Tuyisenge, James Rutikanga and Dominique Bizimana.
Rwandan Paralympic Committee President Celestin Nzeyimana was quoted by The New Times as saying, “Over the years we’ve seen a diverse range of athletes take part in athletics. […] In 2003, the first five athletes participated in the All African Games of Abuja, Nigeria, and in 2004 Rwanda sent two wildcard athletes to the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. At London 2012 we have seen that Rwanda has the potential to have many athletes on high level.”
Rwanda’s Paralympic efforts have been helped by an Agitos Foundation grant that they were awarded last year. The funds went towards overall development of para-sport in the country. There was a special emphasis on increasing the number of trained coaches, classifiers and referees in Rwanda. This supported the creation of an athlete pathway development program for the 2016 and 2020 Games by having the sporting personnel infrastructure in place once athletes were identified.
Rwanda currently has a few internationally ranked competitors. In track and field, this includes Jean Claude Ndayisenga and Hermas Muvunyi. The men’s national goalball team is ranked 47th in the world.