Zimbabwe: ZKU Impressed With Progress

As the Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKU) hosted their last national event over the weekend, association president Paul Danisa has reckoned that it has been a good year for them after managing to fulfil most of their obligations including competing in international events. The ZKU staged the AfricaBet Champion of Champions tournament on Saturday at City Sports Centre to mark the end of their national programme for this year.

The tournament, saw fighters from across the country vying for honours in both the semi and full-contact styles. Some of the top karatekas who graced the event include Kelly Mtisi, Wengai Katemanyengo and Gerald Muusha, who is also the ZKU technical director semi-contact.

On the women’s side the likes of Kudakwashe Chiwandire, Brenda Phiri and Nicole Musarira were also not to be outdone as well as the juniors who came in their numbers. “I think one of the successes is we managed to attend most international events both on the full contact front and the WFK side. We even managed to send a team to Spain for the Junior World Championships.

“We had Samson Muripo clinching gold in Iran, again that’s a success story. We still have got young Wilfred Mashaya who just came back from Russia, again he picked off from where he left off last year and he scooped medals again, a silver and two bronze medals.

“So I think we’ve had success and we have managed to stick to our calendar,” said Danisa. Mashaya recently picked three medals at the International Kobudo Martial Arts Competition and Samurai Show in Russia. Danisa pointed out that their ability to compete in international events has been a major attraction for most karatekas at local events, including the Champion of Champions, which is a platform for selection of national teams.

 “I think the biggest attraction is that we have been able to compete internationally and that has acted as a motivation for most of our athletes being able to put Zimbabwe on the world map to get the necessary recognition and I think that’s the motivation for us.

“And we have also made the standard, I mean we have got automatic qualification to the World Championships in all categories, which we cannot say the same of other countries especially in this region. “The only down side, the challenges that we met, is we missed the African Championships in Cameroon because our funding we couldn’t get proper corporate funding for that.

“And in terms of developing our officials, that is our referees and coaches we also need to have a bit more investment in that,” said Danisa.

For next year the local karate motherbody is looking at the African Youth Games in Algeria, Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, the African Championships in Rwanda and the Region Five Games.

They also have the World Championships in Madrid and most of the karatekas would want to compete in the events to get Olympic rankings for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Danisa said they are grateful to AfricaBet who have been sponsoring several of their competitions including the trip to Spain for the Junior World Championships in October.

Source ; The herald

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