Ellina Mhlanga, Harare Bureau
TOP karateka Samson Muripo continues to set the bar high for local fighters after he came first in the Young Master Kumite (36 to 46 years) open weight at the World So-Kyokushin All-Japan Karate tournament over the weekend in Shizuoka.
The former world champion was leading a five-member team that went into battle in the two-day event that attracted athletes from over 10 countries including powerhouses Russia, Iran and the hosts Japan.
The team included Admire Chingozhoro, Naison Chituwa, Tangayi “Mighty” Mhlanga and Likhwa Khumalo, who were all competing in the men’s open weight division.
Muripo, who turns 40 in less than a month attributed his success to his preparedness through the support he got from various sponsors and well-wishers.
“As a fighter, one fights the way he or she prepared. I was well prepared. With the personal support I got from the likes of Dr (Manson) Mnaba, Elijah Tambala, Nyaradzo and Zimpost on the trip itself, I had to deliver,” said Muripo,
While age may no longer be on his side, Muripo believes he still has a lot to offer to the sport.
“Fighting keeps the senses of a fighter alert and sharpened, I will only retire when I am no more. I love kumite. It keeps me going. The best I can do is to invest in myself and inspire the next generation,” said Muripo.
Muripo walked away with a trophy and certificate for emerging the winner. He also got trophy for outstanding sportsmanship and spirit of karate.
In the men’s open weight division, Zimbabwe’s best performance came from Khumalo, who reached the last eight.
The trio of Chingozhoro, a runner-up in the 2016 edition, Chituwa and Mhlanga were eliminated in the second round.
Khumalo had a bye in the first round and went on to win the second and third round to get to the quarter-finals. He also got a trophy for his efforts.
The annual tournament attracted karatekas from countries such as Philippines, Sri Lanka, Australia, Sweden, Brazil, China, Argentina, Holland, South Africa, India, Denmark and Pakistan.
The Sport and Receration Commission yesterday congratulated Muripo on his latest achievement.
“The Sport and Recreation Commission and the nation at large continue to witness Shihan Samson Muripo’s star shining each time he competes at various levels of competition.
“We are thrilled that Shihan Samson Muripo has once again raised our flag very high in Japan by winning the Young Master certificate, the trophy for the first place in the Young Master and a certificate of recognition for outstanding sportsmanship and the spirit of karate.
“As the SRC we would like to encourage other sportspersons to emulate Shihan Samson Muripo, who started from very humble beginnings and rose through the ranks to become a force to reckon with at the global stage.
“This can only be attained if one is focused, hardworking, disciplined and objective driven,” read part of the statement.
Meanwhile branch chief Zimbabwe Bino-ryu karate Shihan Jairos Manjoro says he is making some strides in his effort to establish the sport in Domboshava where he is running a dojo and hopes to have some of his students competing at the highest level. “At the moment I have about 35 students but because we have limited space I had stopped taking more students to try and find a bigger space to accommodate them.
“So far the seniors that I have include my son Munyaradzi. I have some seniors I had in Mufakose that are coming to the dojo in Domboshava. I also work with young children from three years but it’s a separate class from the 35 — these are men and women. We have about seven girls in the group of adults.
“We want to produce superstars from the disadvantaged areas that is the other reason why I started karate here.
“The main objective is to compete at national, regional and international tournaments,” said Manjoro.
The 49-year-old, who now spends his time training the up-and-coming karatekas after retiring from competing said he would want the style, currently dominating in Harare to spread to other provinces.