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newtimes - 1 month ago

Bagirishya’s journey as a handball coach and artist – and how he excels in both fields

Anaclet Bagirishya is with no doubt living his dream. The handball coach has decided to follow two masters simultaneously, and, he says, excels at both with ease. Apart from being a coach for the APR men’s handball club, the 37-year-old is also into the creative industry where he writes scripts and acts at the same time. Talking to Weekend Sport on Wednesday, February 3, Bagirishya said these two passions are what make him who he is. “I am genuinely living my passion because both fields help me push myself to do better. In fact, the two give me the determination to keep working hard and also make what I am doing fun since they are things am invested in,” he says. Bagirishya, who is also the head coach of the U-20 national team, says for him, this is not all about fame, but rather to push the limits and use his talents to make impact. Acting in comedy The celebrated handball coach is also an artist who is into the development of radio series drama on various issues and topics to educate the public through entertainment. The recorded radio series is all about communication for behavioral change and addressing health issues such as family planning, reproductive health, as well as the fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 to name a few. The comedy career, the father of two says, started while in high school where apart from acting, he would as well sketch down things to do with comedy, which the school would use during drama festivals. In 2008, while at university, he got an opportunity to hone his acting skills by joining Population Media C an American organisation that had come to Rwanda to train talented artists in scriptwriting and acting. He was among those who were selected for a professional internship as scriptwriters for the organisation, which he did for four years before becoming part of the team in 2012. Currently, Bagirishya does scripting for a radio series drama called Umurage. The show is aired on Radio Rwanda, City radio, Isango Star and Radio Izuba. He is also an actor in the same drama taking up the role of a character known as ‘Koffi’. “I enjoy doing drama because it’s something I love and I do it with passion, just as I do when it comes to sports as well,” he adds. In fact, sometimes in his coaching career, Bagirishya finds himself transitioning his drama skills like communicating through humour and jokes, and it has proved to boost morale for players. Exploits in sports Bagirishya is head coach of former champions, APR handball club. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the league has been at halt and training suspended, with players now doing individual exercises at home with the help of videos the coach shares with them. His journey in sports started back in his primary school days after being introduced to the handball team by his teacher. In secondary school, he was fortunate enough to get a mentor who was a coach and a teacher, and helped him hone his handball skills, and ultimately became a career. While at university, he went on to play for different clubs, and at some point, he got an opportunity to attend elementary coaching courses. Moving forward, in 2011, he called time in his playing career, and immediately venturing into coaching at Kimisagara Youth Centre. He started as a volunteer coach. The following year, he landed an opportunity to go further his studies in Germany for a postgraduate diploma in sports coaching, a trip he emphasises taught him a lot that he still uses in his coaching career to date. In his first year as a coach for APR, in 2015, he guided the club to their first East African Military Games title in men’s handball. Two years later, he led the black-and-white outfit to the 2017 league title, and qualified for the African Club Championship for a historic first time. He also previously coached and won several titles – including the league title – with Police handball club before joining APR. Meanwhile, the 2021 national handball league season gets underway on March 27.


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