Moses Mutende Retains Judokas Title

By Ellina Mhlanga
Defending champion in the men’s 72kg to 78kg men’s category Moses Mutende underlined his status as one of the best judokas in the country when he retained his title yesterday at the Japanese Ambassador Cup judo tournament at Hartmann House in Harare .

Mutende has been the champion in this category for the past five years and for the Japanese Ambassador Cup it was his third successive win after beating Allen Ganji in the final by a knockout.

The tournament is hosted by Judo Association of Zimbabwe supported by the Embassy of Japan.

Mutende had dismissed Benjamin Mashayi, who settled for bronze, on his way to the last two.

The 25-year-old was elated after his victory in yesterday’s tournament that also marked the beginning of national competitions for 2018.

“It’s big because everyone knows that we are going to have a tournament, so we have been practising hard. I am also a coach, so it’s a big thing because everyone knows there is the Ambassador Cup.

“And it’s the only tournament that we all come together especially at the beginning of the year to see what’s happening in the clubs. So it’s very interesting.

“It was good especially with the numbers. Some didn’t come but the turnout was good . . . people are training and we had new winners. I was impressed,” said Mutende.

The 83kg to 92kg title went to Sydney Mutero who knocked out Richard Sibanda in an entertaining final while Simbarashe Shonhiwa got a bronze medal.

For Brian Chiminya and Tapiwa Pavari, the participation at last year’s World Championships is proving to be paying dividends as they came out tops in their respective weight divisions.

Chiminya overpowered Lazarus Arufandika, who is regarded as one of the top judokas in the country, to claim gold in the 60kg to 65kg and Pavari was not to be outdone as he defeated Tanaka Muwonza in the 56kg to 59kg.

Upcoming judoka Majaji Musariri, who is one of the three athletes earmarked to represent the country at the African Youth Games set for July in Algeria, was third in the 60kg to 65kg. Musariri is also into the motorcycling sport of motocross.

In the girls 49kg to 63kg Janine Kayaya took gold while Philomina Paulo was second. Rudo Goto settled for third position.

Leanne Max clinched the 66kg to 70kg title and Catherine Chipwakwa got silver. Chipwakwa is also shortlisted to represent Zimbabwe at the African Youth Games.

The tournament also featured children as the national association also focuses on development from an early age.

The top three athletes walked away with medals and certificates. The rest of the participants got certificates.

Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Toshiyuki Iwado, who attended the tournament, was impressed by the good standards of judo at the event.

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