IF ALL goes according to plan, the national Karate team will take a squad of 16 – the biggest ever – to the upcoming 15th Senior African Karate Championship in Senegal, as the upbeat team hopes to bring home medals at the end of the competition.
The latest continental tourney is scheduled for August 10-16 in Dakar, Senegal, with the team expected to travel on August 5.
The national Karate Federation’s (Ferwaka) technical director, Guy Rurangayire, said on Wednesday that the national team which is currently ranked ninth in Africa “continues to improve.”
“With the level we have reached today, whenever we go to competitions including the global ones such as the one in Spain last year, the strongest opponents are so cautious when facing Rwandans. They always become extra serious knowing that Rwanda is tough,” Rurangayire said.
“In Africa, we are not afraid of anybody. I know that about 20 African countries have confirmed participation in Senegal tourney. We are looking to bring home medals and advance in ranking.”
In the past, the biggest squad ever to represent the country comprised nine players who represented Rwanda at the 10th All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2011.
In 2012, during the 14th African championships for senior Karatekas, held in Rabat, Morocco, two members of the senior national side, Sylvestre Twajamahoro and Rehema Kabera won two bronze medals.
Last September, four members of the junior national team [from a lineup of six] – Jeanne d’Arc Umumararungu, Alphani Nsabimana, Aisha Umuhoza, and Solange Ingabire, each, won a bronze medal, during the 17th Cadets, Junior and Under-21 African Championships, held in Tunis, Tunisia.
The same junior team, however, failed to win any medal at a bigger stage – the World Juniors and Cadet Karate Championships – held in Guadalajara, Spain, in November, 2013.
Currently, the provisional team of 16 – including members of both the junior and senior national teams – continue to train at Amahoro National Stadium in Remera.