Taekwondo champs begin at UZ

Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S top fighter at the ongoing Korean Ambassador Taekwondo Championships, Admire Tshitshiliza, is confident of retaining his title in the finweight when he begins his campaign this morning. The tournament began yesterday at the University of Zimbabwe with most of the fights being in the children’s section while the seniors are set to be in action today.

The event, running for the third year, is held by the Zimbabwe Taekwondo Association in conjunction with the Korean Embassy and is featuring participants from Malawi and Lesotho who arrived on Thursday while Mozambique were expected to arrive late yesterday. Tshitshiliza has been dominating the finweight division since the first edition of the championships in 2015 and is confident of repeating the same feat.

“I will defend the title, I will do it again. Nothing much has changed but I was training hard for the championships because the competition is getting tough each year. Lesotho is one of our powerhouses in Southern Africa, they have got talent. But we are aware of them we are ready for them,” said Tshitshiliza.

Tshitshiliza, who is also working with some upcoming fighters from Midlands believes they have a good chance of coming out among the best when the tournament ends today. The national association’s secretary-general, Cleopas Nyangoni, said the support they are getting from the Korean Embassy is critical in developing the sport.

“It’s very crucial and critical because we are still in the developmental stages and we need their support considering also Zimbabwean industry does not fully support sport and especially these fighting sports, combat sports. So their coming in has cushioned us a lot because they finance about 80 percent of this championship and then 20 percent from our resources. It’s very important because it also exposes Taekwondo to the nation and to the region that’s why you find these other countries coming,” said Nyangoni.

Reitumetse Masuoane, who is leading the athletes from Lesotho, said they are here to win and promote their juniors.

“The only target we have for now is a win, win all the way. So from there we are only hoping to promote the juniors, we have juniors some upcoming seniors, so we are only hoping they do their best and learn from the seniors what’s going to happen here. We have new players who are willing to learn what others are doing so we actually hoping for the best,” said Masuoane.

Malawi’s Stanislaus Phiri, who is taking part in the senior men’s section, is looking forward to the competition.

“After looking at the past records for Zimbabwe and Lesotho they have been going out recently to tournaments more than us, we are not very active and have not been going to other countries to participate in any event. So I think they have an upper hand in everything, so we are going to try our best,” said Phiri.

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