Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
SEASONED Karateka Samson Muripo will lead a three-member team to take part in the International Karate Kyokushinkaikan 2018 Dream Cup in Seoul, South Korea this month. The tournament is scheduled for November 25, with karatekas from across the globe expected to be part of the event, including the three Zimbabwean athletes.
Muripo, who will compete in the Open weight division, will be joined by Justice Mutyoramwendo, who is set to fight for honours in the lightweight and Patrick Mangwiro in the middleweight.
Muripo is the most experienced among the three and Zimbabwe Karate Union technical director full contact Kumbirai Musinami said with the former world champion having done well for the country over the years, they are now looking at ensuring they continue to produce best karatekas for the future.
“We have got two young fighters — Justice and Patrick. Samson will be going with them. If you look at these two, basically what we want to do is to build continuity so that when Shihan Muripo stops fighting, we know we have athletes who can bring results. So this is what we are trying to do with Patrick and Justice. These are good fighters, excellent fighters . . . Basically we are trying to groom them into international fighters.
The training we are giving them now is very tough to prepare them for the tournament.
“But it’s a development strategy, so even if they don’t bring results, for our planning we know we will have champions for the future . . . that’s the vision we have.
“So even if they do not bring medals, they would have learnt and they would have seen the bigger stage,” said Musinami.
The two have been working from Raylton Sports Club under the guidance of Muripo and Musinami since their return from the IKOKU International full contact tournament in Cape Town, South Africa in August.
Muripo has so far had an impressive year after being crowned champion at the IKOKU International full contact karate tournament in the Open weight division.
Earlier in the year, he had picked gold at the So-kyokushin International Championships in Iran in the Open weight category and silver in the kata competition of the same weight division.
Muripo then came first in the Young Master kumite (36 to 46 years) Open category at the World So-kyokushin All-Japan tournament in April.
“2018 was a great and successful year for me. We are right on track in quest to discover our full potential come 25th of November in Seoul.
“This is a big event, considering that the supreme advisor for the World So-Kyokushin, Hanshi Kazuyuki Hasegawa (ninth dan) will be the guest of honour,” said Muripo.
For Muripo, this is going to be his last competition for the year, while the pair of Mutyoramwendo and Mangwiro are also expected to take part in the Champion of Champions usually held in December by the ZKU.