Rwanda at the 2012 Summer Olympics
|Rwanda at the
2012 Summer Olympics
|NOC||Comité National Olympique et Sportif du Rwanda|
|Competitors||7 in 4 sports|
|Flag bearer||Adrien Niyonshuti|
|Summer Olympics appearances (overview)|
Rwanda competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, which was held from 27 July to 12 August 2012. The country's participation at London marked its eighth appearance in the Summer Olympics since its début at the 1984 Summer Olympics. The delegation included seven competitors which included three track and field athletes; Robert Kajuga, Jean Pierre Mvuyekure and Claudette Mukasakindi. The other people that represented the country were cross-country cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti, judoka Fred Yannick Uwase, swimmers Jackson Niyomugabo and Alphonsine Agahozo. The track and field athletes qualified for the Games by meeting qualification standards while the remaining four made the Olympics by using wildcards. Niyonshuti was the flag bearer for both the opening and closing ceremonies. No athletes were able to achieve medals at the London Olympic Games.
Rwanda participated in eight Summer Olympic Games between its début at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, United States and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England. The highest number of athletes sent by Rwanda to a summer Games was ten to the 1992 Olympics. No Rwandan athlete has ever won a medal at the Olympic Games. Rwanda participated in the London Summer Olympics from 27 July to 12 August 2012. The Rwandan National Olympic Committee (NOC) selected three track and field athletes via qualification standards. An NOC would be able to enter up to three qualified athletes in each individual event as long as each athlete met the "A" standard, or one athlete per event if they met the "B" standard.
The seven athletes that were selected to compete in the London Games were Robert Kajuga in the men's 10,000 metres, Jean Pierre Mvuyekure in the men's marathon, Jean Pierre Mvuyekure in the women's marathon, Adrien Niyonshuti in the men's cross-country cycling, Fred Yannick Uwase in the men's 73 kilograms in judo, Jackson Niyomugabo in the men's 50 metre freestyle and Alphonsine Agahozo in the women's 50 metre freestyle. Long-distance runner Épiphanie Nyirabaramé was unable to qualify after being unable to meet the required qualification standards. Niyonshuti was the flag bearer for both the opening and closing ceremonies. The team trained at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre's track and swimming facilities for a two-week period in a deal which was announced in October 2009. The delegation was led by their chef de mission Serge Mwambali which included the NOC president Charles Rudakubana and secretary-general Parfait Busabizwa. The athletes were coached by Justin Guillemin, Nicholas Dusine and Innocent Rwabuhihi. Rudakubana said on 20 June that Rwanda's target was to achieve medals.
Robert Kajuga was one of the two oldest male athletes to represent Rwanda at the London Olympics, at 27 years old. He had not taken part in any previous Olympic Games. Kajuga qualified for the Games via qualification standards because his fastest time of 28 minutes and three seconds, set at the 2012 African Championships in Athletics which placed him fifth, was two seconds faster than the "B" qualifying standard for his event, the 10,000 metres. He was the second Rwandan track and field athlete to attain qualification. He competed in the event, held on 4 August, finishing 14th out of 26 athletes overall,[n 1] with a time of 27 minutes and 56.67 seconds. The time was a new personal best for the athlete but was 35 seconds slower than the Rwandan national record. Kajuga ranked ahead of Nguse Tesfaldet Amlosom of Ethopia (27 minutes and 56.78 seconds) and Thomas Ayeko from Uganda (27 minutes and 58.96 seconds) but behind Dathan Ritzenhein of the United States (27 minutes and 45.89 seconds). He finished 26.25 seconds behind event winner Mo Farah of Great Britain (27 minutes and 30.42 seconds). After completing the event Kajuga said that he was "really happy" with his performances and that his début Olympic Games was a "good experience".
The 2012 Summer Games marked Jean Pierre Mvuyekure's Olympic début. He qualified for the Games because his fastest time of two hours, 17 minutes and 32 seconds, set at the 2012 Rome Marathon, was 28 seconds faster than the "B" qualifying standard for his event, the marathon. In an interview before the race Mvuyekure stated that he was "really ready" to participate and hoped to run to the best of his ability. After heavy rain fell in London before the marathon he said that it could impede some runners but did not want to use the weather as an excuse. He competed in the 12 August event, finishing 79th out of 85 runners,[n 2] with a time of two hours, 51 minutes and seven seconds. He finished in front of Greece's Konstantinos Poulios (two hours, 33 minutes and 17 seconds) and Zohar Zimro of Israel (two hours, 34 minutes and 59 seconds) but behind Ram Singh Yadav from India (two hours, 30 minutes and six seconds). Mvuyekure was 22 minutes and 18 seconds behind the marathon winner Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda (two hours, eight minutes and one second).
Claudette Mukasakindi was the oldest athlete to represent Rwanda at the London Games at the age of 29. She had not participated in any previous Olympic Games. Mukasakindi attained qualification into the Games because her fastest time of two hours, 40 minutes and 18 minutes, set at the 2012 Cagliari Marathon, was two minutes and 42 seconds faster than the "B" qualifying standard for her event, the marathon. She was initially denied entry into the Games because the world athletics governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, did not recognise the Cagliari Marathon as an eligible event for qualification. Injuries and poor performances from other athletes allowed her to enter the Olympics. Mukasakindi participated in the marathon, held on 5 August, finishing 101st out of 107 competitors,[n 3] with a time of two hours, 51 minutes and seven seconds. She finished ahead of Luvsanlkhündegiin Otgonbayar of Mongolia (two hours, 52 minutes and 15 seconds) and Evelin Talts from Estonia (two hours, 54 minutes and 15 seconds) but behind Australia's Benita Willis (two hours, 49 minutes and 38 seconds). Mukasakindi finished 28 minutes behind event winner Tiki Gelana of Ethopia (two hours, 23 minutes and seven seconds).
- Note–Ranks given for track events are within the athlete's heat only
- Bye = Athlete not required to compete in round
|Robert Kajuga||10000 m||27:56.67||14|
|Jean Pierre Mvuyekure||Marathon||2:30:19||79|
Adrien Niyonshuti, who at the age of 25 was taking part in his first Olympic Games, was Rwanda's sole representative in the men's cross-country cycling event, and was notable for carrying his nation's flag at the opening and closing ceremonies. He qualified for the Games based on his performance at the 2011 African Continental Mountain Bike Championship. Niyonshuti said that he was putting his focus towards the event and wanted to impress his family, "To have everyone say they are behind me makes me feel good. When people congratulate me for getting to the Olympics, it gives me a confidence and it tells me that yeah, I did well. I just want to go there and compete and finish the race. To know that so many people are behind me makes me not want to disappoint them." He took part in the 12 August race, finishing 39th out of 40 cyclists,[n 4] with a time of one hour, 42 minutes and 46 seconds. Niyonshuti ranked behind Russia's Evgeniy Pechenin (one hour, 41 minutes and 40 seconds) Chan Chun Hing of Hong Kong (one hour, 41 minutes and 59 seconds) but in front of last place finisher Marios Athanasiadis from Cyprus (one hour, 43 minutes and 25 seconds). He was 13 minutes and 39 seconds behind the race winner Jaroslav Kulhavý of the Czech Republic (one hour, 29 minutes and seven seconds).
|Adrien Niyonshuti||Men's cross-country||1:42:46||39|
At the time of the Games, Fred Yannick Uwase was the youngest male competitor representing Rwanda at the age of 18. He was the country's sole representative in Judo and had not taken part in any previous Olympic Games. Uwase was issued with a wildcard by the Tripartite Commission to compete in the Games after being defeated in the third round of the 2012 African Judo Championships by Mazou Abaker Mbairo. He became the first Rwandan judoka to qualify for the Olympic Games. Uwase received a bye in the first round and faced Brazilian athlete Bruno Mendonça on 30 July. He was defeated by his opponent in a 53-second match and thus was unable to advance to the third round of the competition.
|Athlete||Event||Round of 64||Round of 32||Round of 16||Quarterfinals||Semifinals||Repechage||Final / BM|
|Fred Yannick Uwase||Men's −73 kg||Bye|| Mendonça (BRA)
|Did not advance|
Jackson Niyomugao, at the age of 24, was the only Rwandian competitor in the London Games to have participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He qualified the Games after receiving a wildcard from the Olympic Solidarity Committee which was announced in the week before the start of the Olympics and was the last Rwandan athlete to attain qualification. After being eliminated from the heat stages in the previous Olympic Games in Beijing Niyomugao said he wanted to win a medal in London and that if he had more support, he would possibly be able to swim quicker but hoped to see the results. He was drawn in the second heat held on 2 August, finishing fourth out of seven swimmers, with a time of 27.38 seconds. He ranked ahead of Uganda's Ganzi Mugula (27.58 seconds) and Paul Edingue Ekane from Cameroon (27.87 seconds) but behind Ching Maou Wei of American Samoa (27.30 seconds) in a heat led by Abdourahman Osman from Djibouti (27.25 seconds). Overall Niyomugao finished 52nd out of 58 competitors overall, but did not progress to the semi-finals because her time was 5.11 seconds slower than the slowest swimmer who made the later stages.
Alphonsine Agahozo was the youngest person to compete for Rwanda at the London Olympics at the age of 16 and made her first appearance in a Summer Games. She qualified for the Games by being awarded a universality place by swimming's world governing body FINA because her fastest time of 5.65 seconds slower than the "B" qualifying standard for her event, the 50 metres freestyle. In an interview with Reuters before the Games Agahozo said that she was competing against the world but noted that she had experience in other events and felt she would be "ok". She took part in the third heat of event on 3 August, finishing third out of eight competitors, with a time of 30.72 seconds. Agahozo finished ahead of Nada Mohamed Wafa Arakji of Qatar (30.89 seconds) and Katerina Izmailova from Tajikistan (31.27 seconds) and behind Hem Thon Vitiny of Cambodia (30.44 seconds) in a heat led by Antigua and Barbuda's Karin O'Reilly Clashing (30.01 seconds). Overall she finished 58th out of 73 swimmers,[n 5] and was 5.44 seconds slower than the slowest competitor who progressed to the later stages and did not advanced to the semi-finals.
|Jackson Niyomugabo||50 m freestyle||27.38||52||Did not advance|
|Alphonsine Agahozo||50 m freestyle||30.72||58||Did not advance|
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