Over 600 players from about 30 countries across the world are expected to grace the fourth edition of Gorilla International Open and the second edition of Africa Para-Taekwondo Open that will be hosted in Kigali in March and April, officials have said
The two international competitions will be held simultaneously from March 31 until April 2 at Amahoro indoor stadium, and according to Rwanda Taekwondo Federation (RTF) Secretary General Placide Bagabo about 100 local players to compete in the two competitions have begun early preparations in their respective 29 clubs across the country.
Rwanda was given the rights to host the continental championship during the WTF General Assembly after the World Junior Taekwondo Championship in November last year in Canada and this will be the first time that Rwanda will compete in the Para-Taekwondo competition.
“We expect at least 600 players from about 30 countries across the world, countries will be eligible to participate in both competitions and as Rwanda we are very glad to host such big tournaments that will attract such a great number of players in the history of our country,” said Bagabo at a press conference that was held at Amahoro stadium on Tuesday. In January 2016, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that taekwondo will make its historic debut in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and it’s in that context that Rwanda will be looking to use the event as part of preparations for the national team that will compete in the Olympic qualifiers.
“We need to use this opportunity to prepare both our teams for Olympic and Paralympic qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 because we aim to debut at the next Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he added
On the other hand, RTF Secretary General Martin Koonce noted that the two competitions will cost about Rwf100million and insisted everything is going according to plan.
“It’s amazing and historic to host these competitions, and we are going to try our level best to have a colorful showpiece and we call upon the stakeholders to support us and make it more successful,” said Koonce.