ITAI SANGO is set to make a second appearance at the World Taekwondo Championship but the Zimbabwean flag will not be on his dobok.
Sango will be representing Mozambique when the showcase comes to life in South Korea next month. Heading for the World Championships excites the 30-year old fighter, who made his debut in Russia in 2015, but the knowledge that he won’t be doing it for his country of birth has a negative vibe.
“I wish I was doing it for Zim man, raising flag yaMbuya Nehanda, but you know sports like taekwondo are not taken seriously in our country and without sponsorship there isn’t much that an athlete can do,” said Sango in an interview from his Maputo base. “However, I must clearly state that I am grateful to my adopted country. They have been very good to me and have treated me like one of their own.
The Mozambique Taekwondo Federation approached me after I won a tournament in South Africa in 2008 and offered the sponsorship I badly needed.”
Sango says he is a better fighter than he was two years ago, and is confident of doing well at next month’s competition. “Since Russia I have developed a lot technically, competing in international tournaments in Mozambique, South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe. I competed in the Zimbabwe South Korea Ambassadors Cup last November and that was something special.”
Sango is described as a fearless fighter and says his lion’s heart can be traced to his mother’s teachings. “I grew up in Nyanga herding cattle along with the other guys and would always come back home crying after being beaten by some older guys.
“But instead of going to paddocks to confront my tormentors my mother would spank me for being weak and unable to fight my own battles.
Her reaction left me with no option but to be courageous and fight back,” he related.