THE KARATE Union of Zimbabwe will host the inaugural All-Africa So-Kyokushin Karate Championships at the Chitungwiza Aquatic complex on Friday.
BY GRACE CHIRANGANDE
Chairperson of the organising committee Sensei Wesley Murisa confirmed the tournament and said participants were expected to arrive in the country tomorrow.
“Preparations for the tournament are going on well and now we are just tying the loose ends. We expect the other countries’ representatives to start coming into Zimbabwe by Thursday (tomorrow). The World So-Kyokushin karate master, Shihan Jiyuu Shibata, arrived on Monday from Japan,” he said.
Murisa said Swaziland, Malawi and South Africa were expected to take part in the tournament and would fight in different categories.
“Swaziland, Malawi, South Africa and host Zimbabwe, which has about 100 athletes, will battle it out in senior and junior categories.
“Some of the local karatekas taking part in the tournament include Shadreck Chigombe, Brian Chiringa, Brenda Dunduru and Jean Claud Mufundisi. Dunduru won gold earlier this year at the Ladies Open So-Kyokushin National Karate tournament, while Chiringa won gold at the Sharin Kempo Kaikan All Styles full contact men’s open in South Africa last month,” Murisa added.
Murisa is optimistic Zimbabwe will do well in the competition.
“I believe we will do well because we have some of the best karatekas who have proven themselves on national and international levels in our team. The team is also being trained by Sensei Samson Muripo who is one of the outstanding karatekas in the county and who has made a name for himself on various international events. We expect a good tournament,” Murisa said.
Tangai Mhlanga, one of the top karatekas in the country ,will not be taking part in the tournament as he is still nursing injuries he sustained at the World Fighting Kyokushin Tournament in Spain last month.
The prestigious showdown will be officially opened by Sport, Arts and Culture deputy minister Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga.
Hosting the African championships is a great opportunity for the local fighters to have a feel of a competitive showcase and get the much-needed experience.