Collin Matiza Sports Editor

THE 2nd Korean Ambassador’s Taekwondo Championships hosted by the Zimbabwe Taekwondo Association and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea at the University of Zimbabwe last weekend has been described as a huge success.The event was a direct response to the successful staging of the inaugural Korean Ambassador’s Championships which were held at Prince Edward School in Harare in April 2015.

The Korean Ambassador’s Taekwondo Championships were introduced firstly as a way to support the efforts of the Zimbabwe Taekwondo Association who have been promoting the sport in the army, air force and within the local community.

Secondly, taekwondo is a Korean traditional martial art that teaches more than physical fighting skills. It is a discipline that shows ways of enhancing “our spirit and life through training our body and mind”.

Today, it has become Korea’s flagship sport that has gained an international reputation and stands among the official games in the Olympics.

So, the Korean Ambassador’s Championships are about promoting and raising awareness of Korean culture and sports, thus strengthening cultural ties that exist between the people of the Republic of Korea and Zimbawe.

Taekwondo is not only a sport but also a physical, mental and spiritual discipline to develop the character and personality of the practitioner. It also encourages athletes to show good sportsmanship regardless of the outcome of the match.

But taekwondo is not an easy sport, it requires a lot of sacrifice and discipline. A total of 100 athletes came from various provinces to take part in the 2nd Korean Ambassador’s Championships at the University of Zimbabwe last Saturday.

Some of the athletes came from as far as Mozambique to compete with local athletes from Marondera, Gweru, Kwekwe, Mutare, Bulawayo, Chivhu and Seke in the Championships.

The 100 athletes were split in the adult, junior and children’s categories.

There were different weight divisions competing, that is, heavyweight, lightweight, flyweight, bantamweight, finweight and welterweight.

Nineteen girls with different belts were among the athletes and the youngest athlete was a six-year-old boy from the Midlands Province.

The performance and the participation of the athletes at the Championships was quite impressive and it is clear that taekwondo is growing in popularity in Zimbabwe.

Harare Province took the overall winners’ trophy as athletes from Harare won most of the medals followed by fighters from Bulawayo and Midlands Province.

It appears that the standard set is improving every year regardless of the challenges faced and there is room for continued co-operation to grow the sport in Zimbabwe and include other universities and schools as well as support the Zimbabwe Taekwondo Association’s activities in the community.

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