Rwanda being allowed to host the upcoming Continental Championships is a sign of confidence and trust in the country, Theogene Uwayo, Rwanda Karate Federation president, told Times Sport Tuesday morning in an exclusive interview.
Uwayo has welcomed continental and world karate delegations to the country ahead of the 17th African Seniors Karate Championships and the 9th African Juniors Karate Championships beginning in Kigali on Friday.
Late Monday afternoon, the World Karate Federation (WKF) President, Antonio Espinós Ortueta, and the African Karate Federations Union (UFAK) President, Mohamed Tahar Mesbahi, and their delegations landed at Kigali International Airport.
It is the first time the two Karate big shots, and many in other country delegations, travel to Rwanda.
Ortueta who also heads the European Karate Federation is regarded as the major force in the inclusion of Karate in the sports programme of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Uwayo said: “Hosting this major continental Karate event is recognition of trust the Karate community in Africa and worldwide has demonstrated towards Rwanda as a country to partner with, not only the karate and sports community but also the world at large.”
It is the first time Rwanda – or any country in the region – is hosting a Karate tournament of this magnitude.
The 17th African Seniors Karate Championships and the 9th African Juniors Karate Championships is the biggest and most glamorous karate event on the continent.
Up to 23 countries – the largest number in the tournament’s history – will participate in the tournament.
The first matches begin Friday, at the Intare Conference Arena in Rusororo.