FEATURED: Karate in Rwanda, Olympics in Tokyo

The fifth annual Karate Ambassador’s Cup finally came on a beautiful sunny Sunday,  February 9, it was organized by the Embassy of Japan in Rwanda and the Rwanda Karate Federation (FERWAKA).

About 400 people including “Karateka” (Karate Players) and the public got together with enthusiasm at the Lycee de Kigali’s Gymnasium. It is said that the number of Karateka in Rwanda is around 3000 people and Karate is becoming more popular in Rwanda.

The tournament consisted of “Kata” (forms) and “Kumite” (sparring). The Kata is the core of all karate skills. In kata, there is no wasted or meaningless movement. Through the techniques practiced in the kata, you discover how to respond to situations naturally and freely, and apply your techniques appropriately as the circumstances demand.

Ambassador IMAI said in his speech that he would like to thank FERWAKA for its continued efforts to promote Karate over the last 20 years.

In addition, he said this year is a special year for Japan as the Embassy celebrates the 10th anniversary of its establishment and Japan hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo (Tokyo 2020) this summer, in which Karate has become one of the official events.

He hopes that this tournament produces good Rwandan Karateka who can compete in international tournaments in future and that Karateka will learn the Japanese mentality such as patience, respect and fighting spirit as well as culture through Karate. Amb. MUNYABAGISHA, President of Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee, appreciated Hachimantai-City’s invitation to host Rwandan athletes for one month before Tokyo 2020.

And Mr. Theogene UWAYO, President of FERWAKA, said that the competition helps to identify good players that can represent Rwanda in forthcoming international tournaments.

For Yves Bertrand Gusenga, a Karateka in the national police team, Karate has been his favorite sport since his childhood. He pointed out that Karate is a sport that children should play from primary school because Karate is one of the ways to learn self-esteem and to improve their morals as well as to instill critical thinking by practicing continuously with persistence.

Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year for the second time. That will be not only the exciting venue for athletes including Karateka, but also to showcase what’s in store for the future. Preparations to welcome all the guests from around the world seem to be going well. Japan is famous for its safety and this time it has conducted trainings for emergencies, facial recognition systems which will be introduced to identify persons in just 0.3 seconds.

The three main pillars for the Games are sustainability, inclusive society and reconstruction from the disaster in 2011.

In regards to sustainability, medals are made of materials, so to speak of “urban mine”, which are taken apart from collected electronic devices such as cell phones and cameras that are no longer in use. In addition, hydrogen- refueling stations will be set in athlete villages to enable fuel-cell cars to run and provide electricity in residential areas and others. There are many more examples.

Concerning inclusive society as the second pillar, Tokyo will become the first-ever city to host the Paralympic Games twice and between the first Games in 1964 and the second ones this year, Tokyo is ready to welcome not only athletes for Paralympic Games, but also visitors who have a variety of lifestyles.

Japan promotes “universal design” in which cities will be designed to be easily accessed by a variety of people regardless of any handicap, age and so on. It also promotes barrier free society which removes systematic, social, psychological barriers.

Thirdly, Japan will express its sincere gratitude towards assistance and encouragement from all over the world by showing the region’s new energy that came after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.

The fifth annual Ambassador’s Cup was closed with enthusiasm, and as Japan hosts the largest sports festival in the world, the excitement has been mounting. It might be good to keep the eyes on the Games and Japan as a host country to see not only sports but also all the attractions around the Land of the Rising Sun. 


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