MATABELELAND Karate Union (MKU) and Bulawayo Karate Clubs’ female karateka Sebenzile Sibanda earned herself a new nickname “The Japanese Lady” on Saturday in Gweru during the Inter-Styles Karate competition after displaying a splendid performance that saw her winning first gold medal in 2014.
Sibanda brushed aside all her opponents including clubmate Anneesha Moyo in the women’s kumite.
Sibanda and Moyo met in the final and it was the former who outclassed the latter to claim the most prestigious medal in the tournament.
It was not the first time Sibanda scooped gold in competitive events as she made a mark in her debut in the 2013 inter-styles senior teams championships in Triangle.
She grabbed a silver medal in the individual kumite before winning bronze in the women team kumite in the 2013 Zone V1 karate championships in Windhoek, Namibia, in June, and clinched gold in the women’s individual kumite in the 2013 inter-provincials in Bulawayo in October.
Matabeleland Karate Union vice-chairman sensei Branco Manyatela said: “I am very impressed by our team’s performance especially our ‘Japanese Lady’. She did very well.”
More than 100 athletes drawn from the country’s five active provinces, Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Tsholotsho, Triangle and Denkokan Thebe Karate club (DTKC) from Francis Town, Botswana, took part in this competition.
Athletes battled it out in the individual and team kumites and katas for top honours.
DTKC took gold to Botswana beating the Midlands in the finals of the men’s team kumite.
In the men’s kata Harare’s Kyu Oshin stole the limelight and was rewarded accordingly with a gold medal while clubmate Chicca Ndiripo scooped gold in the women’s category after putting up an impressive show.
Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKU) president sensei Joe Rugwete who also graced the occasion, said he was very impressed by the team participation.
He said it would enable ZKU to pick a competitive national team for the Zone VI competitions.
The Zone VI competitions are slated for Lusaka, Zambia, in the last weekend of June. World-class referee sensei Javier Escalante from Sweden is expected to grace the Lusaka tournament where he will train local referees on advanced officiating skills.