Japan to arrive for Mombasa Open tournament on Sunday

Tong Il Moo Do players during a training session at Nyali Beach last year. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

Japan who have been a thorn in the flesh to the Kenyan athletes are expected in the country on Sunday ahead of the start of the Mombasa Open International Tong Il Moo Do championship set for next week.

The Asian nation will be seeking to wrestle the title from Kenya who will be defending the overall title for the 11th year in a row.

Kenya Tong Il Moo Do Federation president Master Clarence Mwakio confirmed on Wednesday that Japan will be the first foreign country to land in Mombasa.

"All the arrangements are in top gear and we expect the 42 foreign teams to start arriving in Mombasa from Sunday with Japan being the first nation to land at the coastal city," said Mwakio in an interview.

"We expect plenty of exciting matches as all the teams have prepared well," added Mwakio who is also the president of the Africa Tong Il Moo Do Federation.

Mwakio said the event, which holds World Championship status, will see athletes showcase their skills and techniques in various categories, both individually and as teams.

"The event promises to be a thrilling spectacle of athleticism, skill, and camaraderie, bringing together martial artists from diverse backgrounds to celebrate their shared passion for this dynamic sport," said Mwakio.

Kenya's team captain Elvis Malipe speaking from the team's training base at the Mombasa Light International Academy said the morale is in top notch.

"We are aware our opponents have been training hard to wrestle the title but they should not expect a smooth walk on the floor," said the captain. The action starts from December 15 to 17.

Malipe said they is ready to face all-new enemies and all-new challenges as they defend the overall title for the 11th year in a row.

Jacqueline Muli, who has been out of action since last year due to a nagging knee injury said Kenyan players have been more aggressive every single year.

"We are not ready to let the overall title get out of the country," said Muli who has been co-opted as one of the trainers.

Muli said World gold medallist Lorna Abiero will lead a record 74 Kenyan female athletes in medal haunt

"We are excited to see 74 Kenyan female athletes in action. This is a clear indication that the sport has been growing rapidly in the country," said Muli. Abiero won two gold medals during the 2019 World Martial Arts championship in Chung  Ju, South Korea.

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