Rwandan Athletes meet Queen Elizabeth
Team Rwanda shared a historical moment with the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II when she toured the Olympic Games Village on Saturday.
Team Rwanda Chef de Mission Serge Mwambali told Times Sport that the queen visited with fawning Rwandan Olympians in the athletes’ village and rode to the top of the 377-foot (115-meter) Orbit tower beside the stadium, where on Friday night she officially opened the 2012 Games.
After playing a starring role alongside James Bond in Danny Boyle’s critically acclaimed opening ceremony, Her Majesty toured the village with 150 members of the British Olympic Association as well as London 2012 chairman Lord Sebastian Coe.
The Queen was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh as she was shown around the residential block and dining hall by BOA chairman Lord Colin Moynihan.
Dressed in a royal blue silk dress, crepe coat and matching hat, the queen could be heard remarking at the views of the London skyline and countryside.
She wore a brooch given to her in 1948 - the last time London hosted the Olympics and four years before her accession to the throne.
Mwambali said, “Each continent was represented by three countries and we (Rwanda) had the opportunity to repesent Africa.”
“Africa was represented by Rwanda, Kenya and Swaziland and each country chose three athletes accompanied by an official to meet Queen Elizabeth.”
“We had a wonderful moment meeting the Queen. After watching the opening ceremony of the Games, it was completely an awesome experience once again,” added Mwambali.
Claudette Mukasandi (10,000m), Alphonsine Agahozo (50m freestyle), Fred Yannick Uwase (judo) and Mwambali enjoyed the once in a life time opportunity to meet and have a light moment with Queen Elizabeth.
On Friday night, cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti was part of the grand opening ceremony as he strutted inside the Olympic Stadium with a huge grin holding the Rwanda flag aloft.
Niyonshuti was a flag bearer on the same stage with Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and other top athletes.
Four billion people from around the world watched the opening ceremony. Of course, the Olympic opening ceremony had monarchs, presidents, prime ministers, Michelle Obama and the cast of “Downton Abbey” and that was just in the audience.
The ceremony itself included Muhammad Ali, Paul McCartney and David Beckham – who drove the Olympic flame down the Thames in a speedboat. This was a decidedly A-list affair.
Among the 60,000 spectators at Olympic Stadium was Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip and younger royals including Prince William and his wife Kate, and Prince Harry.
Contact email: bonnie.mugabe[at]newtimes.co.rw