Zimbabwe’s most decorated karateka, Shihan Samson Muripo, added more silverware to his trophy cabinet once again after he clinched gold at the Kyokushin Union World Cup in Russia on Sunday.
By Freeman Makopa
Over 30 countries were represented at the tournament, which was the sixth edition.
This is yet another milestone for Muripo after he became the first African to be crowned world champion at Osaka, Japan in 2009.
So-kyokushin country technical director Sensei Kumbirai Musinami said the tournament had former world champions and is regarded as one of the toughest in the world.
“We knew he was going to be in a tough tourney because it consisted of former world champions and he (Muripo) was also competing in the veteran category, which had fighters with third dan belts and above. But we are excited that he outclassed them all, and this did not come easy as he had been training hard for the competition,” Musinami said.
“Having won gold proves that he is the best in the world after he outdid champions from Spain and the host nation, Russia, among others.”
Musinami said the triumph proved that Zimbabwe was a powerhouse in the sport.
He, however, bemoaned lack of funding as the greatest hindrance to the grooming of best karatekas in the country.
“We are lacking funding to develop more athletes. For instance, we were supposed to have five fighters in Russia, but we only managed to send one due to lack of adequate funding,” Musinami said.
“We have the potential and good talent in the country, but the only handicap is support.”
The former world champion last year indicated he was shifting his focus to tournaments outside Africa after taking part at the IKOKU International full contact karate tournament in Cape Town, South Africa.
In 2017, the karate master was crowned world champion at the 3rd International So-Kyokushin Karate Tournament in Ahvaz, Iran.