Rwanda won its first ever gold medal at an African Junior Karate Championships in Kigali last weekend . The 17th edition of this tournament ended on Sunday September 2, in the Rwandan capital and attracted more than 300 fighters from 25 countries.
Maic Shyaka Ndutiye, 17, faced Egyptian Amr Alaa Abokora in the men’s 55 kg category, winning his first gold medal in East Africa.
“These guys (Egypt players) are really good, they are really good in Karate all of them, they are champions. So what I tried to look at their videos, to learn much more from them. Actually our coach is from Egypt , so he helped us, he helped me to get this medal,” Ndutiye said.
The competition featured Kata and Kumite exercises for 14-19 year olds in both the men’s and women’s categories.
Kata consists of detailed choreographic movements performed solo or in pairs, while Kumite is a set of freestyle karate movements.
Despite a strong performance in their first appearance at these championships, Rwanda settled for sixth place on the medal count.
Cameroon was fifth, South Africa fourth, Morocco third, Algeria second, while karatekas from Africa’s heavyweight Egypt continued to rule the medal podium with 26 medals.
“We begin training two months ago, we begun with general fitness and the karate fitness and begin after that karate and begin gym, and now last days, we have technical karate and move in the stadium, and everything the players want in the stadiums and everything our players can player games,” said Rwanda’s coach Hashin Mahmud Mohamed.
For many of the 30 fighters from Team Rwanda, the tournament was good for learning platform and exposure.
“I started karate because I loved it so much, not knowing that I will become professional, I could not imagine that I could participate in such a competition,” said one team member, Florence Niyigena.
Botswana will host the 18th edition of the African Juniors Karate Championships in 2019.