Battle hardened fighters Vanily Ngarambe and Emery Espoir Ntungane, both 25, are in Madrid, Spain to compete in the 24th World Senior Championships that begin Tuesday and end Sunday.
The two are Rwanda’s most experienced fighters having participated in more international big stage events than any other compatriots, since 2012.
This is Ngarambe’s third and Ntungane’s second appearance at the World Senior Championships.
But there is no doubt that had it not been for lack of funds, the local karate federation could have fielded a bigger squad after Rwanda’s historic achievement at the African Karate Championships, in Kigali, in September.
At the recent 17th African Seniors Karate Championships and the 9th African Juniors Karate Championships, the biggest and most glamorous karate event on the continent, Rwanda struck its first ever gold. It emerged sixth best performer after bagging eight medals in total.
Despite challenges, Theogene Uwayo, Rwanda Karate Federation president told Times Sport, “the young men are here [Spain] on pure competitive spirit and eager to do their very best.”
A lack of resources made it impossible for the entire, or most, of the medal winning squad to travel to Spain where the world’s best Karatekas will compete.
Only Maic Shyaka Ndutiye, 17, the gold medal winner at the continental championships is not eligible for the world championships since he is still a junior.
Uwayo said: “We could also have taken Fiston Ntwari who performed well during the African championships but only lacked of experience. We are sure he would have redeemed himself. He is an excellent fighter.”
Draws will be made late Monday night. The tournament takes place at the WiZink Center sport hall, a state-of-the-art arena which is the venue of major cultural and sports events in downtown Madrid.