Rwandan Mountain Biker's Rocky Ride To London
Published Thursday, 12 July 2012 17:43 | Written by Amwal Al Ghad
Adrien Niyonshuti's memories of Rwanda's genocide are hazy, but when he needs to shut off his mind and forget the slaughter that killed six of his brothers he jumps on his bike.
The small-framed 25-year-old is readying to become the east African country's first Olympic mountain biker, honoured with carrying the national flag at the opening ceremony of the London Games.
"When I ride my bike, there's no one who can stop me or ask me anything so things are really good," Niyonshuti told Reuters in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. "Riding gives me an opportunity to help forget the things that happened in 1994."
Niyonshuti and his infectious grin are becoming increasingly well known in the city. As he cycles through the streets he is repeatedly called out to by well-wishers.
It was his uncle who inspired Niyonshuti as a youngster.
"Even though he wasn't professional, my uncle was a champion in Rwanda for many years and everyone in this country knows him."
Aged 14, his uncle took him to watch the Tour de Rwanda race through his home town.
"I said to my uncle: 'I want to be like those guys one day'. He said 'Yeah? You can be'."