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Kenyan martial arts stars leave no rival standing

Unique Sports
 Lorna Abiero (left) and Mildred Akinyi during the Mombasa Open Tong-IL-Moo-Do international martial arts championship, at Aga Khan Academy. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Kenya's national team proved to be a powerhouse in the field of martial arts after they overcame strong opposition to retain the Mombasa Open International Tong Il Moo Do Championship title for the 11th year on the trot.

The team, which is coached by Ibrahim Chumba, did not disappoint the martial arts fraternity after they bagged 191 medals to improve on their performance. Last year, they collected 118 medals.

As the 2023 edition concluded on Tuesday night at Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, Kenya bagged 45 gold, 52 silver and  94 bronze medals to remain at the top of the table standings.

Zambia were the surprise team after they dethroned world champions Philippines from last year's second position with 23 medals that included 10 gold, five silver and eight bronze.

Philippines finished third with five gold, two silver and four bronze, for a total of 11 medals.

"This was a good performance by the Kenyan athletes. We had prepared well compared to our opponents," said the national captain Elvis Malipe.

In the individual performances Christine Ahono led a Kenyan clean sweep in the junior girls’ sparing category ‘E’. Nina Inan was second as Samantha Nelima, Mwakauzwa Hamad and Nicole Imily tied in the third position.

Flavin Kemunto clinched gold in the junior girls’ category ‘D’ followed by Iranian Kosar Mohamadloo, while another Kenyan Kyla Nyambura settled for the bronze.

Erica De Sequeira of India won gold in the junior girls’ category ‘C’ followed by Kenya’s Eunice Mwende. The Kenyan duo of Mchumba Sachiko and Precious Mghoi tied in the third position.

In the junior girls’ category ‘B’,  Kenya's Debra Osena won gold as Zulpha Kadzo and Blessing Atieno, both from Kenya, settled for silver and bronze respectively.

In category ‘A’, Mwanasheban Bakari led a Kenyan sweep with a gold medal, as Etana Kamene won silver. The bronze medals was jointly won by Bessy Benarzir and Swaleh Aisha. 

Jasiri’s Lizzanne Owino led Kenya to a 1-2-3 podium finish in the individual forms female category. Owino won two gold medals and a silver at last year's event.

Pauline Zawadi gave Kenya another gold medal in the individual female forms female category ‘A’, as  Chitalu Natalie from Zambia took silver. Kenya's Mildred Akinyi struck a bronze medal.

Jaxon Indakwa, Deputy Director in the Ministry of Sports said the government will continue to support talent in all sports.

"As government, we emphasis on taping talent at the grassroots through talent development programs," said Indakwa.

Kenya Tong Il Moo Do Federation President Master Clarence Mwakio said the tournament will now be held in August.

"Many countries missed flights to Mombasa due to high tourism season. We have decided to take the tournament to its original month of August," said Mwakio.

He said the federation has drafted elaborated calendar of events for next year.

"We have 14 active counties but we want to open branches in the whole country. We will also organise several instructor clinics to ensure the sport is well received at the grassroots," said Mwakio.

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