A TEAM of local junior karatekas will be making their debut on the world stage when they compete at the 2013 Junior World Karate Championships in Spain early next month and they plan on ensuring that the world takes notice.
The eighth edition of the championships will run from November 7-10 in the city of Guadalajara. Zimbabwe will be represented at the tournament by Lee Chemhuru (Men’s Junior Under-21), Eden Eden Langarveldt (Girls’ Under-21), Tanaka Kanengoni, Derrick Mukucha (Boys’ Under-17), Scott Weale, Innocent Ntini, Paul Danisa Jnr (Under-15) and Unesu Hlahla, captain of the team.
Hlahla said the team had stepped up preparations as they look to make a mark on the world stage.
“This is not like a ZoneV1 or an African competition, but this is now a world stage which we have to prepare for adequately. Originally, we used to train twice a week, but now we have three sessions every week.
“It’s demanding because we are still going to school and most of us are preparing for exams, but we have to do this,” Hlahla said.
Local karatekas have had a lot of success in recent years including amassing a rec ord breaking haul of 23 gold, 35 silver and 42 bronze medals at the 2011 Zone V1 Champions in Botswana.
At the Zone V1 games in Gaborone and the World Goju Ryo Championships in Cape Town, SA, early this year, the team won four gold, 15 silver and 28 bronze and six bronze medals respectively.
Sadly, the corporate world and the government seem not to notice.
In most instances the athletes have gone to represent the country using their own resources.
For the trip to Spain, a local company Reflex Digital Media chipped in to provide part of the protective equipment and six air tickets.
The Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKU) are battling to raise funds for the rest of the 14-member delegation.
The ZKU also have to raise money for accommodation and the general up-keep of the team when they get to Spain.
They held a fundraising dinner at a local hotel on Thursday, but the attendance was poor.
The team is expected to leave for Spain on Friday.