Kenya Karate Federation (KKF) will use this weekend’s Kenya Open Karate Championships to select a national team for the upcoming Union of African Karate Federations’ (UFAK) Region East tournament slated for May 16-21 in Nairobi.
The two-day event that kicks off today at Mount Kenya University Indoor Arena, Thika, will feature cadet, juniors, youth and seniors’ categories both male and female.
According to Kenya Karate Federation Secretary General Gabriel Mutuku, the tournament will offer them a chance to select a strong team to not only compete in the regional event but also the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England (September 6-11) and World championship in Budapest (November).
Region East is composed of 14 countries namely Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somali, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros.
“We will select at least two players from each category to form two teams (20 players each) to represent the country in the Region East tournament, but that is if the budget allows,” said Mutuku.
“We have already requested for some financial support from the government. After this weekend’s tournament, the team will start training at Kasarani Gymnasium and being the hosts we expect positive results during the regional competition.”
Mutuku who doubles up as Kenya Police coach says it is because of their impressive performance in last year’s international events that Kenya got the rights of hosting the Region East tournament.
The four international events included the Premier League in Lisbon, Portugal and Egypt, Tokyo Olympics qualifiers and World Karate Championships in Dubai.
“Children and juniors will compete today, while the seniors will compete on Sunday. We will also be conducting anti-doping activities,” said Mutuku.