Rwanda eye taekwondo redemption at African Games after World Championship disappointment

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Team captain Benyon Kayitare exited in the first round alongside the rest of the squad ©RTF

The Rwanda Taekwondo Federation (RTF) has set its sights on redemption at this year’s African Games after admitting the performance at the World Championships had been lacking.

Three fighters from the African nation padded up at the sport’s showpiece event in Manchester this month but all were knocked out in the first round.

RTF officials had ambitiously targeted a medal in the English city but it proved a step too far.

Team captain Benyon Kayitare lost to Saudi Arabia’s Abdulelah Asiri in his opening contest at under-54 kilograms with Vincent Munyakazi falling at under-68kg to Egypt’s Abdelrahman Wael.

At under-58kg, Jean-Paul Sekanyambo lost to Omar Lakehal of Morocco.

It is now hoped that the African Games, taking place in Moroccan cities Rabat and Marrakesh in August, will allow the country to restore some pride.

“We picked vital lessons,” said RTF President Placide Bagabo, who travelled to Manchester, to The New Times.

“Our players lacked concentration and tactical experience to manage their fights.

“There are a few things we need to get right before we can dream of medals in such competitions.”

Speaking about the African Games, Bagabo said: “This time we win medals.”

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