Vanily Ngarambe, 25, waits to battle the winner in the contest between Heidar Agust Sveinbjornsson (Iceland) and Helio Hernandez (Portugal) in the next few hours at the 24th World Senior Championships which begun in Madrid, Spain today Tuesday.
His compatriot Emery Espoir Ntungane, 25, will face Italian champion Luigi Busà, 31, late Wednesday. This will be a special match for Rwanda given the strength and vast experience of the opponent.
Ngarambe and Ntungane – Rwanda’s most experienced fighters – are competing in the -84Kg and -75Kg kumite (fighting) categories, respectively.
Despite travelling without coaching staff, among other challenges, the young men are more than inclined to give their all.
Ngarambe told Times Sport on Tuesday morning that his colleague’s match on Wednesday will be a match to reckon with.
Ngarambe said: “It’s a big fight. A strong opponent. But we are determined and we want to raise the Rwandan flag here. Let’s wait for tomorrow.”
Every time they are not fighting in matches happening at the same time, one will stand in the coach’s both to assist the other. This means Ntungane sits in as coach for Ngarambe today while the latter returns the favour tomorrow.
And both hope they do not suffer any serious injuries or encounter any random challenges as they plot to take risks. They are encouraged by Team 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.
Ngarambe won silver while Ntungane bagged bronze during the African Karate Championships.
On Monday, Theogene Uwayo, Rwanda Karate Federation president told Times Sport that inspite of the challenges, “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. Uwayo decried the lack of funding which could not allow the federation to take a bigger squad to Madrid.
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.
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.