President Paul Kagame yesterday received Rwanda Cycling Federation officials with whom he discussed a ten-year blueprint that seeks to position Rwanda as a top cycling destination.
The meeting, held at Village Urugwiro in Kigali, was attended by the Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu.
The delegation included Ferwacy president Aimable Bayingana, and Team Rwanda technical director Jonathan Jock Boyer.
The meeting agreed to the initiation of cycling tourism in the country, the officials said.
Minister Uwacu said the meeting also reflected on the achievements in the area of cycling over the last 10 years and looked into the opportunities to further develop the sport.
“We did not only look at how far we’ve come, we also discussed where we want to be in the next ten years. We thank the President for his continued support toward the development of cycling in the country,” the minister said.
“We have agreed to keep working hard to reach our goals. We also discussed how Rwanda can benefit from cycling as a sport, especially through cycling tourism.”
Bayingana also thanked President Kagame for his support to the federation and Team Rwanda-Cycling.
Kagame is a keen supporter of Team Rwanda-Cycling and has previously donated professional bikes to local riders, who have come of age in recent years as regular winners of the annual Tour du Rwanda (now a key feature on international cycling calendar), while their international stature has also grown by leaps and bounds owing to their decent showings in several international competitions.
The Ferwacy chief said they were doing everything possible to make Rwanda’s cycling a tourist attraction, and to grow the culture of using bicycles across the country not just for sport but as an alternative means of transport.
“We have already embarked on a plan to develop cycling tourism but it requires hard work and commitment from everyone,” Bayingana told The New Times.
“Cycling has the potential to generate significant revenue for the country and that’s what we want to achieve over the next 10 years.”
He said the President pledged support toward achieving the set goals.
“I want to thank the President for his commitment to the development of cycling in Rwanda. We have the potential to become a top cycling nation and these efforts will help realise this ambition,” added Bayingana.
The meeting also discussed the need for training opportunities for professional coaches and mechanics, with most of the potential trainees being former riders.
Meanwhile, Bayingana also confirmed that Richard Mutabazi will replace Boyer as the technical director of Musanze-based Africa Rising Cycling Centre, the home of Team Rwanda Cycling.
He said the decision was taken because the American will be working mostly from outside the country looking for sponsorships and partners for Rwanda’s cycling.
Mutabazi has been the secretary-general of the Rwanda Basketball Federation.
WRITTEN BY: Peter Kamasa for the The New Times Rwanda