After five years of existence, the General Assembly of the Olympic Committee last week approved the Skating federation among its member federations after it was impressed by its organisation, competitions and structure.
Upon securing membership, the federation is now focused on preparing players who will represent Rwanda at the 2024 Olympic Games set to take place in Paris, France.
Skating, commonly known as Skateboarding, is among the four games that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently approved for Paris 2024, alongside surfing, breakdancing and sport climbing.
Three of them, except breakdancing, will also be a part of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
The approval of Skating among Olympic events is, according to Skater Justin Ntwali Tuyiringire, among the key factors that motivated the federation to push for membership of the Olympic Committee to open room for budding Skaters to participate in the 2024 Paris games.
“When we started organising Skating competitions, we didn’t think about making it to the Olympic Games, but approving the game among the events that feature in the Olympic Games boosted our motivation to apply for the Olympic Committee’s membership,” said Tuyiringire, who serves as the Skating federation president.
He said that his federation has been in contact with Skating governing bodies on both the African and Global level until it was approved among the Olympic Games.
Following the federation’s membership approval, local Skating players’ eyes are now set on the journey to the Paris 2024 Games.
“We are happy that Skate was approved for the Olympic Games but we need to work for it if we are to represent the country and win medals not only in the Paris 2024 Games but also in other international Skating tournaments,” Tuyiringire said.
Tuyiringire has been Skating since 2014 as fun until different Skaters started to form teams a year later. Three teams were formed at the beginning and they are now legally certified to operate.
There are also eight more teams which are in the process of applying legal status so they can be recognized by the Olympic Committee.
The Skating federation is now working closely with a certified Skating coach from Australia, especially in development activities to budding skaters while the Olympic Committee will assist the federation in organising further training for Skaters, referees and coaches for the game.
Many Skaters are doing Skating for fun but Tuyiringire pointed out that the federation is doing their best to turn the game into a profitable sport for those who play it professionally.
“It would be sad if we see the same players in five years, or so, still playing the game as fun. Some people will be doing it for fun but we also wish to see people playing it professionally, and making a living out of it like others sports disciplines,” he said.
Skating is played in four main styles namely; Freestyle skateboarding, Street skateboarding, Vert skateboarding and Slalom skateboarding.
However, there are no specific facilities designed to host Skating competitions before the federation moves to engage stakeholders in availing infrastructure designed for Skating to help players where they can practice as well as standard facilities to host Skating tournaments.