Fighters Maic Shyaka Ndutiye, 17, Vanily Ngarambe, 25, Emery Espoir Ntungane, 25, and Lucky Niyitegeka, 17, on Saturday added four more medals, including a historic gold, to Rwanda’s tally in the African Karate Championships.
The 2018 edition of the African Karate Championships got underway Friday and will be coming a climax this evening at Intare Arena in Kigali.
The country’s first ever gold from an international tournament was won by youngster Ndutiye, a senior three student who was making his debut on the international competitive Karate scene.
National team Captain Ngarambe also bagged the country’s second silver medal at the tournament while Ntungane and Niyitegeka struck bronze each.
After two days, Rwandans have now won eight medals including the four, one silver and three bronze, won by other national team members on day one, Friday.
Nearly 300 of Africa’s best Karatekas from 25 countries are in Kigali to clash for glory at the 2018 UFAK Junior and Senior Karate Championships that end today, Sunday.
Karatekas from Africa’s heavyweight, Egypt, continue to rule the medal podium.
After the individual and team Kata as well as junior and senior individual Kumite (fighting) contests were wrapped up on Friday and Saturday, Sunday will see more fighting contests in teams. Kata is display of a set sequence of moves in a pre-arranged fight against imaginary opponents.
Last team battles on Sunday
Soon after Saturday’s taxing individual fighting contests, Egyptian expert Hashim Mahmoud Mohamed Hashim who is heading the national squad’s coaching team, again rallied his troops for the last team battle today.
Hashim urged his men to give their best in the final matches, in the hope of adding to the country’s medals.
More than ever before, the young fighters on the national team (male and female) are filled with a sense of purpose.
In addition to Ngarambe, Ntungane, and Ntwari who already proved they fear no one, Hashim’s male team Kumite list of players is comprised of Regis Katabarwa, 21, Alphan Nsabimana, 24, Christian Rurangayire, 25, and Omar Usengimana, 28.
When matches begin, the coach will line up five fighters.
Ngarambe and teammates know they have a very steep mountain to climb as their first match will be against Egypt.
There is no doubt that Rwanda’s fighters will be tested to the limits as the Pharaohs have picked their best six warriors – Abdelaziz, Mohamed Elkotby, Elasfar, Elsawy, Mansour and Salama – mostly world champions in their respective weight categories.
Whoever survives this clash will meet the Senegalese, another force to reckon with in this competition. Fighters from Dakar proved, beyond doubt, during the first two days’ individual Kumite battles that they are not the type to be bullied.