Sixteen players will make the Karate team that’s set to represent Rwanda at the 15th Senior African Karate Championship in Senegal, next week.
The national team heads to Senegalese capital Dakar on Sunday morning and will have two days to acclimatise before the championship kicks off on August 13.
This is the biggest squad ever to represent the country in an international Karate tourney.
After the team’s final training session at Amahoro National Stadium, on Friday, coach Ruslan Adamov told Saturday Sport that all players are in “good physical condition” and ready to represent their country.
Adamov added: “We corrected mistakes and are ready to compete. We also worked on all individual players’ focus and concentration, which is important. I don’t expect anyone to lose [game] control.”
National Karate Federation (Ferwaka) technical director Guy Didier Rurangayire said apart from unexpected problems such as injuries, which usually occur during competitions, the team is “more than ready.”
“We expect to win medals in different categories. We shall compete in about 14 categories and we hope to win several medals,” Rurangayire said.
The team comprises 10 males and six females. Three males will compete in Kata (display of a set sequence of karate moves in a pre-arranged fight against imaginary opponents) while seven will go for Kumite (fighting) competitions, respectively.
Meanwhile, three ladies will compete in Kata, and the others in Kumite. There will be 14 categories of contest including, individual male Kumite, under 60kg, under 67kg, under 75kg, under 84kg and over 84kg, as well as individual female Kumite for under 50kg, under 55kg, under 60kg, under 67kg, as well as team Kumite and team Kata matches by both sexes.
The players are in good spirits. Bronze and gold medalist Rehema Kabera, one of the ladies, said they are “organised and confident.” Kabera, who will tussle it out in Kumite competitions, said, “I am going or gold, or at least silver, but nothing less.”
Urging fans’ support, the team vice captain, Vanelly Ngarambe, said: “We are going as Rwanda; we urge our fans to support us via Twitter and other social media sites. Have faith in us. Pray for us. And we promise to deliver as expected.”
Nearly 20 countries will challenge for the latest series of the bi-annual African contest.
Full team: Sylvestre Twajamahoro (captain), Vanelly Ngarambe (vice captain and captain of junior national team), Laurent Barawigirira, Providence Mutuyimana, Jean Claude Kumi, Solange Gashagaza Ingabire, Rehema Kabera, Noel Nkuranyabahizi, Jean Paul Shyirambere, Omar Usengimana, Christian Rurangayire, Aisha Umuhoza, Emery Ntungane Espoir, Razia Uwase, Jules Rutayisire and Sakina Cyuzuzo.
Coach: Ruslan Adamov