A fortnight ago, Rwanda organized the annual Kung Fu Wushu Championship putting an end to close to a 20-months hiatus caused by the covid-19 setbacks.
The tournament attracted a total of 172 players from 21 teams. There were 31 female and 141 male players who played in seven categories.
This year’s edition was organized as part of the celebration of the 50-year anniversary of cooperation between Rwanda and China.
Marc Uwiragiye, the president of Rwanda Kung Fu Wushu Federation (RKWF), says Kung Fu is not only a sport but also a cultural tool that links Rwanda and China.
He said this year’s tournament is a great occasion for both countries to celebrate half a decade of cooperation in a remarkable style.
“The Kung Fu Wushu game that we are playing in Rwanda hails from China which means we have something in common that is worth celebrating as both of our countries mark 50 years of cooperation. It has been a key tool to our cooperation,” he said.
“Kung Fu is part of Chinese Culture and having it here in Rwanda means it has for years been a link between Rwanda and China cultural exchange. We welcomed the Kung Fu Game because it not only keeps people healthy but because it also serves as a reminder for or cooperation,” he added
The Chinese Embassy in Rwanda has for years been contributing to the development of Kung Fu Wushu in Rwanda and hence supporting the federation in different competitions it organizes as well as training those who aspire to become Kung Fu Wushu players.
For that, the embassy has over the past five years made a tremendous contribution to the development of the Kung Fu Wushu game in Rwanda, a commitment that Uwiragiye believes had a positive impact on the game.
In 2016, four coaches traveled to China and were trained with advanced skills about the game while 11 young Kung Fu players were also given an opportunity to get Kung Fu training in China.
He hopes the future of the game is in good hands as long as China continues to support the development of the game in Rwanda as has been the case since the game was introduced in the country decades ago.
The federation is now doing all it can to make the game more competitive while at the same time preparing athletes to represent Rwanda at Paris 2024.
“The level of our players is promising to the extent that we can produce athletes who can represent the country at the Olympic Games. If anyone doubts their performance, time will tell,” he said.
Xing Yuchun Political Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda said the just-concluded National Kung-Fu Wushu Championship has special meaning for the Wushu community in Rwanda as it proves how far the players have gone playing the game year after year.
“I can deeply feel the players’ passion for Wushu, and their perseverance in the sport,” she said.
Rwandans are increasingly embracing Kung Fu Wushu. There are over 2,000 members, young and old, male and female, in Rwanda’s big Wushu family, a number that impressed Yuchun.
“It shows us how popular Wushu is in Rwanda,” she said.
Yuchun said that Kung Fu is beyond a sport as it carries Chinese culture and embodies profound philosophy that has prevailed for thousands of years.
To her, learning Wushu helps the player also learn the values of respecting each other and heritage.
“In Wushu, people always start with a defensive move, rather than to strike, it’s not about hurting someone, but about preventing violence. A similar philosophy applies to China’s foreign policy of non-confrontation and non-conflict,” she said.
As Rwanda marks 50 years Yuchun said that Wushu is one of the bridges that not only connect both countries but also tell us the growing cultural exchanges between the two countries afar.
“China and Rwanda have developed friendship higher than mountains on this shared journey of getting better together. We look forward to the next 50 years of our fruitful cooperation, and a bright shared future and hope to see more people join the Wushu family and feel Wushu’s ample connotation,” she said.