Effective today, April 7, all sports competitions will be suspended for a week until April 13, as the sports fraternity joins the rest of the country in commemorating the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
This year’s commemoration marks the 28th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Ahead of the commemoration week, Minister of Sports Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju called on sports fraternity to rely on Rwanda’s choice of unity to build a country free from all forms of hatred and discrimination.
“As we begin the 28th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, let us be aware of our responsibilities as sportsmen and also of our choices as Rwandans, to be united and build the Rwanda we want, a nation free from all aspects of hatred. and discrimination,” Munyangaju said in his message to Sports Fraternity.
The commemoration week comes at a time when various sporting competitions were taking shape after they were given the green light to continue earlier this year following a significant drop in coronavirus cases.
Kiyovu leads Rwanda’s premier league standings so far with 50 points and has a two-point lead over the defending champions and second-placed RPA.
The commemorative break begins two days after the teams played the first leg of the last 16 of the Peace Cup which produced surprising results.
Rayon Sports, whose hopes of representing the country in African club competitions next season, were held to a goalless draw against in-form club Musanze FC on Monday, while AS Kigali also slipped on a 2-2 draw against Etincelles in Rubavu.
APR and Kiyovu have a quarter-final leg after claiming 1-0 wins at Amagaju FC and Marine respectively.
The basketball league was also suspended on April 6.
Members of the sport community have been invited to lead by example and participate in the commemoration activities that will be held at the local level.
During the commemoration week, public lectures and meetings will be held at the village level and no form of sport and entertainment will take place. The country’s flags will also fly at half mast during the commemoration period.
Theogene Uwayo, President of the Rwanda National Olympic Committee (RNOSC) pointed out that the fact that the current generation involved in the sport is young should be a wake-up call to use the commemoration week to learn about the country’s past from which they can contribute to a better future. .
“As we join the rest of the nation in commemorating, the majority of athletes of this generation were born after the Genocide against the Tutsi and therefore might know little,” Uwayo said.
“I think so [the commemoration] is an important opportunity to explain to them what the country has been through, the consequences and encourage them to take the lead in the fight against genocide ideology and instead focus on nation building for a better future,” he added.
Sports federations will start the Genocide Memorial Competitions (GMT) in May instead of June as planned, with the country set to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
The tournaments are organized in memory of the sports personalities killed during the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994.
Some of the federations that normally hold such events include cycling, volleyball, soccer, basketball, karate, taekwondo, and cricket among others.
However, figures such as the Swimming Federation have announced that they have chosen to organize their competition this month only a few days after the commemoration week.
Over a million lives were lost in just 100 days during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which affected all facets of society. Sport was no exception.
Football and volleyball are two of the sporting disciplines that were heavily affected by the genocide, losing more than 70 and 50 players respectively.