Five medals for NAKU

The Namibia Karate Union (NAKU) recently participated at the 17th African Senior Karate Championships and 9th African Junior Karate Championships held in Kigali, Rwanda from 28 August to 2 September.
A team of 12 of the best Karateka in Namibia attended the Championships with 8 Juniors (2 girls and 6 boys) and 4 Senior athletes (2 women and 2 men) competing for the honour of being crowned African Champion.
During the course of the event Namibia managed to rack up a total of 5 medals (1 silver and 4 bronze), securing an overall standing of 9th in Africa. Namibia started well, winning 4 medals on day one and another on day two. Namibia was one of only 15 countries to win medals out of the 25 countries at the event.
The team continued to build on its recent achievement of coming 3rd at the Region 5 event held in Botswana earlier in the year and once again confirmed its position in the Region by finishing behind South Africa (4th) and Botswana (8th) at the African Karate Championships.
There were many highlights during the course of the event. Mayvonne Swart’s performance in both Kata and Kumite, securing silver and bronze respectively, was outstanding and the young Karateka is quickly making a name for her on the African Karate circuit.
When asked to comment on her performance, Mayvonne said; “The announcement to be selected to participate and represent Namibia at the UFAK games was an honour. An oppor-tunity that I did not want to miss! Participation in international events gives you the personal opportunity to grow and improve in the sport you love and representing your country is really an honour. The experience gained at such high ranking event motivates you to reach more and to improve more for the next challenge.”
Besides the athletes, the officials accompanying the team also managed to bring home numerous prestigious qualifications. Namibian Chief Referee, Sensei Wikus Oberholtser tested for and received his UFAK Referee B Qualification for Kumite, solidifying his rank among the best referees in Africa. The Coach of the National Team for this event, Sensei Llewellyn Manale also tested for and received his UFAK Kata and Kumite Coaching Qualifications.
When asked to comment on his team’s performance, Coach Llewellyn said: “Overall, we have arrived at a crossroads, athletes have seen the level required to medal at this level of competition and it’s an eye opener for most. With that said hard work and commitment will be required for the road ahead. Athletes performed well, our juniors have a bright future ahead of them, but our seniors will have to up their game to another level in order to achieve a medal. Overall, our athletes gained valuable knowledge and experience by being in this competition, some even just missed out on a final. With proper care and support from the karate union and financial assistance from sponsors, we can groom future champions.
Our trip went well and the wellbeing of the team was taken care of by our manager and president, which allowed me to coach and guide athletes to perform. We are looking forward to the next event, and another chance to showcase the true Namibian talent that our athletes possess.”
Competition was very tough, but NAKU is very proud of the performance of the team. Following the success of the karate athletes in Rwanda, NAKU is planning to send a small team to attend the World Karate Federation’s Senior World Championships in November as part of its athlete development plan and plans to attend the Commonwealth Karate Federation Champion-ship to be held at the end of November in Durban, South Africa.
With Karate an Olympic sport and being recently categorised by the Ministry of Sport as a Developmental Sport Code NAKU has decided to participate at both continental and international events to evaluate our standard of Karate. We are very pleased to say that Namibia is back on the African Karate scene. However, the Union is facing real challenges to get a team funded for the World Championships and creating opportunities for our athletes to gain valuable Olympic Qualifying points.
The African Karate Championships results also counted towards Olympic Qualifying and we hope to again measure ourselves in November against the best in the world to see what training interventions need to be done to assist our athletes in being successful at continental and international events
The Namibia Karate Unions will hold their annual Junior and Senior National Karate Championships tomorrow at the Dome in Swakopmund.

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