Karate team intensifies preps Samson Muripo

Ellina Mhlanga

Senior Sports Reporter

LOCAL fighters to represent the country at the forthcoming Second So-Kyokushin World Karate tournament have stepped up their preparations as the countdown for the event continues. 

The global show-piece is due to take place on November 25 and 26 in Shizuoka, Japan. 

Participants will compete in kata and kumite. 

The Zimbabwe Karate Union is looking at fielding a 15-member team at the tournament. 

Zimbabwe So-kyokushin Karate Do-Organisation technical director Kumbirai Musinami, who is one of the instructors working with the team said they are making positive strides. 

“We started off training in June but we have just gone a gear up to intensify our training because time is running out. 

“In terms of preparedness, we are almost there, our physical conditioning and the technical aspect. But what we are doing now is intensifying the fighting part of it because it’s a kumite tournament and all of them are going to be taking part in kumite.

“So up until the third week of October we will be working on kumite, then thereafter we slow down. 

“We don’t have anyone doing kata because of financial constraints, we could not pick a team to fill all the kata and kumite categories,” said Musinami. 

The 15-member team is blended of seasoned fighters such as Samson Muripo, Likhwa Khumalo, Admire Chingozhoro, Tangayi Mhlanga and George Mutambu, and new talent. Muripo has indicated this is going to be his last fight as he will be retiring from competing after the event to focus on other areas of the sport. 

“We have a mixture of seasoned and upcoming fighters. The likes of shihan Muripo, George Mutambu, Likhwa Khumalo and Admire Chingozhoro, those are seasoned fighters. The rest are upcoming fighters, they have never been to the World Championships before but have represented the country well in the region and locally. “In terms of our prospects and how the team is looking we have got potential medallists. Although some are first timers we are hopeful of medals because the training has been tough and all the fighters are raring go.” Musinami said they are also pleased to see more women making the team to compete at the highest level. 

The female participants include Florry Chandavengerwa, Vanessa Kamusoro, Tatenda Kambarami, Tsitsi Muranda and Elizabeth Muguma. 

“This time around we have been very fortunate, we have got ladies going. It is more crucial for us because we have never had such a number of ladies participating at this level. So for us it is very important, this is the highest level. “We want them to have this fighting chance and we don’t want them to feel less or intimidated, so we are giving them very tough training loads on kumite such that they are well prepared. 

“So it’s a welcome development. We look forward to progressive development so that in the future we have an equal number of men and women. It’s good for the nation, the development of sport will improve and once we have women coming on board, it will attract more women to join the sport,” said Musinami.

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