Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE So-kyokushin Karate-Do Organisation are looking at concluding their year on a high note as they prepare for the forthcoming sixth Kyokushin Karate World Cup in October, in Moscow, Russia.
The tournament is expected to run from October 5 and 6 in Moscow with over 30 countries taking part.
The local So-kyokushin organisation has assembled a team of experienced fighters for the event. They are Pumulani Maposa, Justice Mutyoramwendo and Shadreck Chigombe (lightweight), Patrick Mangwiro (middleweight) and Naison Chituwa, who will battle it out in the Open weight category.
Grace Chirumanzu is expected to compete in the women’s section.
They are set to join Kyokushin fighters – Tinashe Chingwaro and Gabriel Mukombero – who will be led by their branch chief Stanley Chapunza. Zimbabwe So-kyokushin Karate-Do Organisation technical director, Kumbirai Musinami, said this is likely to be their last event for the year.
“This is most probably the last event for us. We always perform better and when we send athletes out there, it’s not for a visit, we are going there to get medals.
“Even if you look at the list, all these are very good fighters who have gone for international tournaments before.
‘‘We have tightened our training regime, we have become strict and we are hoping to get results because now the team trains every day, except for Sunday.
“So, it’s not a walk in the park because we are trying to make sure when we go there we raise the flag high,” said Musinami.
Former world champion Samson Muripo, Kudzanai Shaba, Musinami, George Maposa and Vurayayi Marima are expected to travel with the team.
Musinami said they have applied for clearance for Muripo, who is a fifth dan black belt holder, to compete at the tournament and are anticipating a positive response. “It’s the same tournament he won in 2009. That time we were under kyokushin. It will mean a lot for him, it will mean a lot even to the organisers who would want him to participate as a former champion.
“We will see if he can compete because we need clearance from Japan because of his level he is not allowed to just fight.
‘‘So, our organisation So-kyokushin has to approve. We have written to them for his clearance and chances are high we will get the clearance. If he doesn’t fight he will go as an official.
“It’s going to be featuring all powerhouses because I know that countries that are going to participate in this tournament are nothing less than 35 or 40.
‘‘Russia is a powerhouse, Ukraine, the Japanese, Bulgaria, USA, Israel and China – all these countries have confirmed their participation. So it’s going to be tough,” said Musinami. Chapunza said preparations were going well but they were still appealing for funds to make the trip to Russia.