Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
FOR Samson Muripo, karate is his passion and that has helped him overcome the various challenges that usually come with the pursuit of success in sport.
His recent success at the sixth Kyokushin Karate World Cup in Russia, where he claimed gold in the Veterans category, is an inspiration to many.
And, judging from the excitement from fellow karatekas that welcomed him at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, one can tell he is that ray of hope to many of them.
Muripo says despite his success, there hasn’t been much in terms of monetary rewards.
He makes his living through teaching karate and, in some cases, he does it for free.
It’s no longer the money but the love of the sport that drives him.
“I haven’t done enough, that’s what I think. I haven’t done enough, maybe, in terms of polishing my diamond,’’ he said.
“There are people who are just pacesetters.
“They don’t consider remuneration at first and yet, inside themselves, they would say at some stage I should have money.
“You have to know your rank at any given time, don’t spend more than what you earn. It’s about being content and discipline, you have to be disciplined.
“In other countries, where we compete, the so-called So-kyokushin karate we practice in Zimbabwe, if you are to ask their champions, they will tell you their Governments give them money after getting gold.’’
Muripo said the Government has made efforts to recognise outstanding athletes but face major challenges to address the economic challenges.
“It depends with the structures of our constitution but Government has been trying, those national awards and so forth,’’ he said.
“People expect too much, if we are struggling economically as a country I think those things are the ones that are supposed to be addressed.
“At one point, after my first training in Japan (in 2006), I would have two classes here (at Raylton Sports Club), full classes, maybe of 100 people, because our economy was not bad.
“After 2008, that’s when things went down, many people migrated to greener pastures.
“I think we are expecting too much from the authorities, that’s my thinking. If the economy is vibrant you can make a living, you can even be recognised more.’’
For his trip to Russia, Muripo had to fund himself and some of his students made contributions towards his welfare in Russia.
“Some students just contributed for my food and so forth but for my ticket I had to make sure I have it in place first before preparations.’’ The 41-year-old said he still has more years in karate and he is hoping to compete at the second So-kyokushin World Karate tournament next April.