Karate: Rwandans show spirit but suffer early exit at African champs

Khalifa Niyitanga, 19, was knocked out in the second round. File

Maic Shyaka Ndutiye and Khalifa Niyitanga, Rwanda’s flag bearers at the 18th African Seniors Karate Championships and 10th African Juniors Karate Championships in Gaborone, Botswana, were impressive but bowed out without winning a medal on Saturday.

After the round one draws made Thursday night, Khalifa Niyitanga, 19, was paired against Zambia’s Yamboto Kelvin Siambongo in the seniors -67kg individual kumite category.

The Rwandan youngster tamed the Zambian with ease and won the match 6-1 but was eliminated in the next round.

Maic Shyaka Ndutiye, 18, was to meet the winner between Chad’s Toudja Kesse Iye and South Africa’s Sedan Shukry Bin Igsaan, in the in the seniors -60kg category. He too met a tougher opponent in the South African and lost 2-3.

All in all, the two youngsters, who were debutants in senior category, put up a good fight according to their coach, Noel Nkuranyabahizi.

Nkuranyabahizi said: “Our young men did their best. They fought fearlessly, but the juniors’ category [which they competed in last year] is different from the seniors’.

They need more training and preparation.”

The 2018 edition of the African Karate Championships was held in Kigali, at Intare Arena, as Rwanda scooped eight medals, including the historic gold by Ndutiye.



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