Kenyans ready to take on the world in South Korea

By Ernest Ndunda in Chungju, South Korea : Tuesday, August 27th 2019 at 09:30 GMT +3 | Sports
President Uhuru Kenyatta flags off the Tong-Il Moo-Do national martial arts team who are representing the country at the 2019 Chungju World Martial Arts Mastership in Korea.

The first contingent of the Kenyan Tong Il Moo Do team arrived safely in Chungju, South Korea yesterday, all ready to battle the world ahead of the second World Martial Arts Masterships championship, at Martial Arts Park.

The second team, which is led by the Kenya Tong Il Moo Do Federation President Clarence Mwakio, is expected to land at the Incheon Airport, South Korea early today.

The World Championships begins today to September 6 with athletes competing in different activities.

Evans Oduor, who is the head of the advance team, said they are ready to improve on their 2016 performance when they made their debut in the championships.

"We made our presence felt in our debut and our focus is to win more medals," said Oduor in an interview in South Korea.

In their debut, Oduor, who was part of the 2016 national team in the tournament, led Kenya to winning eight medals.

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The Kenyan team won one gold, two silver and five bronze medals, ranking them the third best country in the world in martial arts behind Iran, and the Philippines.

Oduor said they expect tough competition from different countries among them the host South Korea.

Secretary General of the 2019 Chungju World Martial Arts Masterships Organising Committee, Lee Jae Young, said the international event has attracted over 4,000 participants from 100 countries, who will compete in 20 different martial arts events.

"The World Martial Arts Masterships is the world's only comprehensive martial arts competition event that promotes world peace, bringing world martial family together to communicate and harmonise," said Young.

Apart from the host South Korea and Kenya, other medal contenders include Philippines, Iran, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Cambodia, India, Taiwan and Nigeria.

Others are Senegal, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Paraguay, USA and Argentina.

The event is co-hosted by the World Martial Arts Mastership Committee, Chungcheongbuk-do Province and Chungju City in the Republic of Korea.

Mwakio said the Korean tournament is a precursor to the annual Mombasa International Championship set for December.

The Kenyan delegate was flagged off by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week where he said mechanisms are being put in place to ensure that talents are identified and developed early enough.

“We do not just want to cultivate talents at the national but also at the grassroots level,” the President said.

“Play fair and clean. If you come back a champion, we will be happy but we will be happier if you come home champions after playing fair and clean,” he advised.

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