ZEN club have retained the Japan Karate Ambassadors Cup after dominating this year’s competition at Lycée de Kigali gymnasium on Sunday, February 9.
The Rubavu-based team were ranked as overall best both in kata (skill demonstration) and kumite (fighting) categories.
Amir Bugabo’s side amassed a total of 13 medals to successfully defend their title after bagging ten medals in men’s category as well as two gold and one bronze in the women’s section.
Speaking to this publication, visibly excited Bugabo said that there was no particular secret for his club’s success in the tournament. “We just invest a lot of effort in preparations.”
“We are happy for this victory once again, but I (honestly) can’t say I was surprised. We prepared for it, and I was confident we would retain the title,” he noted.
Lion karate club finished second, while Mamaru club and Okapi tied for third in Kumite, whereas UR–Huye Campus and APR finished second and third, respectively, in kata.
This year’s tournament registered an increase in the number of teams from last year’s 26 to 32 and Ferwaka president, Theogene Uwayo, is optimistic it will keep growing.
“This year’s competition was a success thanks to our partners and bigger number of participating teams. We are optimistic it will keep growing for many years to come,” Uwayo said in his brief address while closing the tournament.
He also appreciated the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, Masahiro Imai, and Valens Munyabagisha, the head of Rwanda Olympic Committee, who attended the tournament.
Japan Ambassadors Cup is an annual karate tournament organised by Rwanda Karate Federation (Ferwaka) in partnership with the Japanese Embassy in Rwanda.