THE 2017 National Taekwondo Championship has entered the final day as 18 teams compete for medals ahead of the closing ceremony this evening at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.
The two-day tournament which started yesterday has attracted a record 18 teams with a total of 404 athletes vying for medals in different categories. Competitions are sub-grouped into four categories namely, youth, juniors, seniors and para-taekwondo meant for participants with disabilities.
The number of teams in the annual competition grew from 12 last year to 18 this year. According to Rwanda Taekwondo Federation’s head of competitions, Regis Iyumba, the increase of the number of competing teams reflects the steady progress of the sport in the country.
The multi-category championship started with kids, youth and junior competitions. Today will see seniors and players in Para-taekwondo vying for medals both in poomse and kyrogi.
Poomse is the taekwondo style that expresses the mental and physical refinements as well as the principles and techniques of offense and defense while Kyrogi is the actual practice of Poomse with someone else in a battle for points to determine the winner.
Last year, Gatenga-based Dream Taekwondo Club were crowned champions followed by Kimironko-based Dream Fighters club. For individual awards, Savio Nizeyimana was named the best male player; Aline Ndacyayisenga was the best female player while Jean Marie Vianney Bizumuremyi was the best in Para-Taekwondo.
Martial fighters taking part in the tournament seek to win medals and improve in rankings so they can represent the country in international competitions next year. Also, good performance for players in this competition means a lot as far as earning a spot in the national team is concerned.
Among other prestigious competitions awaiting the 2018 season is the African Taekwondo Championships to be held in March 2018 in Morocco while Tunisia will be home for qualifiers of Youth Olympic Games in April. Rwanda will field representatives in both tournaments.