THE Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKU) is confident that the Karatekas set to represent the country in the World So-Kyokushin All-Japan International Karate tournament in Shizuoka will lift the countrya��s flag high this weekend.
The country managed to contribute a total of five competitors to represent the country.
a�?We managed to send five athletes to represent the country in the tournament. The players left on Tuesday and arrived on Wednesday to prepare since the competition is considered as one of the toughest contests in the world,a�? said ZKU secretary general Steve Charandura.
Registration for the tournament will be on Friday and the competitions take place on Saturday. The ZKU secretary said they had left no stone unturned in preparation for the competitions and they were confident athletes would bring gold medals back home.
a�?Samson Muripo is an experienced former World Champion and has also won in a number of International competitions, Admire Chingozoro also competed and won in an international competition in Harare recently.
a�?The pedigree of the players we sent speaks volumes itself. Zimbabwean karatekas are good and we expect gold medals and silver medals when they return home as usual,a�? said Charundura.
Tendai Mhlanga, who has little experience on the international scene, will be the new kid on the block and he is expected to fill in the gap of the senior karatekas in the future.
Two of the Karatekas will be fighting in the heavyweight category while the other three will be fighting in the middleweight category.
Charundura said their athletes always impress although Karate is an amateur sport which has no financial backing.
a�?Athletes will have left their families to represent the country but little or nothing comes out financially which kills their spirit in the sport,a�? said Charundura.
He appealed for the corporate world to chip in.
a�?We are aware of the economic situation which isna��t conducive enough to get a number of well wishers to help but we ask those who can, to assist us. We are however, grateful to the companies that made the trip to Japan a success.
They really assisted a lot,a�?said Charundura.
Meanwhile, there will be Karate National team selection tournament in Gweru this weekend.