Karate Sensei Chihlava aims higher

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Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKA) technical director Sensei Amos Chihlava has set his sights at improving his officiating credentials by attending a high-profile kata and kumite international refereeing course to be held in Melaka, Malaysia, next month.

The course will be conducted on the sidelines of the 7th World Junior and Cadet Championships which will run from October 13 to 16.

The World Karate Federation will be conducting the course.

Zimbabwe has no karate referees qualified to handle international tournaments and if Chihlava attains the international refereeing badge, he will be qualified to officiate in world events.

After missing out on the African regional referees’ course held in Mozambique during the just-ended All-Africa Games where he was with the national karate team, Chihlava said he was prepared to grab the Malaysia opportunity by the neck.

The Sports and Recreation Commission failed to bankroll Zimbabwean officials who were invited for the Mozambique course, prompting Joel Rugota to fork out money from his own pocket.

The biggest drawback for Chihlava’s Malaysia mission is lack of funding as the cash-strapped ZKA is incapacitated to chip in financially.

“I am more than ready to go for that world-class course in Malaysia next month. It was very unfortunate I missed the one held in Mozambique during the All-Africa Games, but this one in Malaysia is more important because you can break barriers and participate in international events.

“In Africa, we have the problem of having most referees in our continental events coming from North Africa, but that can be changed if we rise up and participate internationally. However, my biggest challenge is that I am yet to get sponsorship to fly out to Malaysia,” Chihlava said.

Chihlava, based in Gweru, won a bronze medal in team kata at the 1995 All-Africa Games held in Harare.

The Zimbabwe karate team performed dismally at the Maputo games and could even not get a single medal.

Heavyweight Gondo Gondo failed to travel to the games due to work commitments in Botswana.