Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THE Champion of Champions karate tournament, which is traditionally held in Harare, will for the first time this year be staged in two cities as part of efforts to grow the sport.
The Zimbabwe Karate Union said the full contact event is set for Harare on December 7 at Alex Sports Club while the semi-contact styles will be in Bulawayo a week later.
The annual event, which usually brings the curtain down on the ZKU calendar, is used for selection of national teams in preparation of the following year’s regional and international competitions.
Previously, the tournament was held over a day with full-contact and semi-contact competitions running concurrently at the same venue.
“The tournament is on. The only difference is that we are going to hold two separate events,’’ said ZKU president, Paul Danisa.
“On December 7, we are going to hold the full-contact version at Alex Sports Club and then on December 14 we are holding the semi-contact in Bulawayo.
“We have got two main reasons, number one is Bulawayo are back on track in terms of their structures.
“They are up and running and they have been holding successful tournaments. They actually wanted to host both full-and-semi-contacts.
“But, because of logistics, full-contact is mostly dominated in the northern part of the country, so for logistical reasons, we have one in Harare and the other one in Bulawayo.”
The ZKU are still finalising the venue in Bulawayo and also the sponsors for this year’s edition.
“We are finalising on the actual venue in Bulawayo. They have definitely put a good team in place and even the Harare guys were advocating to go to Bulawayo.
“The fact that Bulawayo is up and running, we will definitely see some champions coming from there.
“I think with the leadership there, the fighters will realise their full potential and the fighters will benefit from this.
“I will not be surprised if we see champions coming from Bulawayo.
“We have not finalised the sponsorship but we should be able to sustain ourselves,” said Danisa.
ZKU technical director full contact, Kumbirai Musinami, said they were hopeful of another exciting edition this year.
“All styles are busy preparing for this tournament,’’ he said.
“This year, ZKU have made decision to hold the full-contact and semi-contact on separate days.
“This does not reduce, or change the magnitude and importance of the Champion of Champions tournament. We look forward to a great tournament with participants from all over the country.
“And we are still appealing for sponsors for the Champion of Champions tournament as finances remain a huge setback.’’