Kenyan karatekas aim to rule African events

Kenya hopes to dominate North African countries in future Africa Championships after emerging the overall winners in the Africa Zone East Karate Championships at Kasarani Gymnasium last weekend.

Kenya won a total of 54 medals (13 gold, 17 silver and 24 bronze) medals in the three-day tournament that attracted seven countries.

And head coach Patrick Kiarie now says he was impressed with the performance of cadets and junior teams in the event. 

He feels it’s just a matter of time before they conquer continental giants Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

“The performance of our teams has been impressive and we are now shifting focus on shaping our cadets and juniors to give them early exposure and continuity in production of talented players as practiced by the North African countries,” Kiarie told Standard Sports.

In the three-day tournament, Madagascar finished runners up with six gold medals ahead of Rwanda with three gold medals, Ethiopia (two silver) and Uganda (two bronze) while Tanzania and Sudan finished at the bottom with no medal.

Fourteen year-old John Omondi of Skylife Karate Club was voted the Most Valuable Player.

Omondi, who is a Standard Eight pupil at Harambee Khalsa Primary School in Nakuru City, won a gold medal in the cadet 14-16 years of the 14-15 years kumite Under 51kg and a silver medal in the kata category.

“We are proud of Omondi (John) because he’s made us proud. He’s a role model to his teammates and we hope to see him win more medals in future international championships,” said Kiarie.

Omondi’s club coach Michael Obiero said: “He (Omondi) has been a consistent player in the past ,winning many medals in Africa Championships from the time he was six years up to date.”

As a result, Kenya has qualified for the Africa Karate Championships to be hosted in Durban, South Africa from November 26 to December 3. Madagascar and Rwanda have as well qualified for the continental championships by virtue of finishing in the three top positions.


Kenya's players celebrate after winning the UFAK East African Region Karate Championship at Kasarani Gymnasium on May 21. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]
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