By John Tuerijama
IF Namibia can have its way to have karate athletes at the 2020 Olympic Games selected based on country representation from Africa, the country may have a representative in Tokyo, Japan.
However, Africa will only have three karatekas in Japan, a reality that renders Namibia’s chances of having representation at the Tokyo Games very slim.
The Namibian Karate National Team Manager, Leonard Martin, said the selection is based on the points obtained at the various competitions in the past years, including the just-ended Africa Karate Championships held in Kigali, Rwanda.
Martin said Namibia is fighting for the selection to be based on country selection, which would improve the chances of local senior karateka Katelyn Martin making it for the Olympics. Katelyn ended fifth overall from the 20 participants at the Kigali tournament, while Namibia ended ninth overall. Twenty-five countries participated at the Karate Championship with 300 fighters eyeing top honours.
Speaking to Confidente this week, Martin said that since it’s the first time that karate will feature as a discipline at the Olympic Games, it will surely be a tricky selection process.
“There will be three divisions only and 2020 will most definitely be a platform that countries will use as an exhibition platform, while the 2024 Olympic Games will have all categories from 15-year-old male and female fighters.
Martin expressed happiness with Namibia’s performance at the 2018 Africa Karate Championship, taking into the account the high level of the competition.
“We had a relatively young team and with ten juniors who competed for the very first time at such high level event, but handled the competition very well. The performance of the fighters in each division was well executed and they truly stamped their authorities there. However, we ended ninth since we did not take part in the team event like the other countries,” he said.
Namibia, he said, could have ended fifth had the team competed in the team event. Only fighters over age of 18 years participated in the team event, a team that Namibia did not have going to Kigali.
The team manager further revealed that the junior fighters, including the seniors will compete in the national championship scheduled for Swakopmund at The Dome, this weekend. More fighters are expected to be added to the team based on their overall performances especially those making the first four positions. The idea is to have a competitive junior team for the 2019 African Junior Karate Championships to be held in Gaborone, Botswana.
“Botswana is closer to Namibia and we intend on having a bigger delegation to the championship. Prior to that we will be hosting the Region 5 competition in May next year, in which six countries are expected to compete,” Martin added.
The countries scheduled to participate in the Gaborone Championship early next year are Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mauritius.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015