SIX of Namibia’s top karatekas competed at the just ended African Games against Africa’s greatest contenders, proving that Namibia has great potential in producing great athletes in the near future.
The African Games were held in Rabat, Morocco, last month.
Despite the team not winning any medals, Namibia Karate Spokesperson Stefan van der Merwe is optimistic that the team possesses the passion and capability that showed its readiness to take karate to the next level.
“Namibia pulled tough draws in the first rounds of the kumite competition, with all six athletes unfortunately losing their first bouts. Only Bryan Nakambonde, who lost his first bout against Morocco’s El-Chabi Nabil managed to win one bout in the following rounds before losing to Senegal just short of the bronze medal rounds,” he said.
The second day of competition featured individual kata rounds as well as the team kumite events.
Team Captain, Suzelle Pronk, managed to comfortably make it through the first round but fell short of the medal rounds by a margin of 0.46, placing her in fifth place overall.
In the team kumite event, the female team faced tough competition against Nigeria in the first round and unfortunately did not manage to make it through to the second round. The male team, who were handicapped by only having 3 out of 5 possible competitors, were also knocked out by Mali in the first round.
“The African Games was an amazing experience that any athlete can only be humbled and blessed to be a part of. The level of karate at these games was of a very high standard and they keep getting better at every competition as we move closer to the 2020 Olympics. As team Captain, I am proud of every karate athlete at these games in regards to their effort and personal achievements. We have a very young team and a lot was learned at these games. I am looking forward to see what these athletes will bring for Namibian karate in the near future. Of course as an athlete one is never satisfied with performances and thus I and the rest of the team will be going back to the drawing board and taking what we have learned at these games to keep improving in our performances and results,” said Pronk.
Namibian Karate action will continue this coming weekend on the 13 and 14 of September as it will host its annual Namibian Junior and Senior National Karate Championships at the Municipal Indoor Sports Complex in Walvis Bay.
This year’s event will also act as national trials and core selection criteria for the 2020 Namibian National Karate Team.