Home NEWS Features 3rd edition of Kung Fu Wushu championships held in Kiambu, Kenya

3rd edition of Kung Fu Wushu championships held in Kiambu, Kenya

Prof. Wang Shangxue from the Confucius Institute of the University of Nairobi says the Institute plans to introduce free Chinese language lessons to Kung Fu members and coaches in Kenya.

The 2024 championships of the Kenya Kung Fu Wushu National Tournament took place on Sunday in Kiambu County, attracting a bigger number of participants compared to the two previous editions.

The martial arts event sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, the Confucius Institute of the University of Nairobi, and organized by the Kenya Kung Fu Wushu Federation, was first held three years ago, and many Kenyans have been showing interest in the sport.

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Some of the disciplines on show during the championship include Taolu and Sanda where Taolu Competition attracted Children – both boys and girls from grade 4 to class 8, Taolu Competition for both male and female, as well as Sanda Competition for male and female. Competitors were required to wear Wushu competition costumes in compliance with laid down Rules during the competition.

“We had the first edition in 2021 and held another championship in 2023. But in 2024 we see growth. Today we had 70 players whereas previously, we didn’t have such a big number. So, I will say Kung Fu is growing in Kenya,” said Njonge Ngaruiya, the Kenya Kung Fu Federation president.

Ngaruiya says the sport’s growing popularity in Kenya has prompted him to introduce the games to school-going children. He says Kung Fu games, for instance, are now being performed in 23 schools within Kiambu County alone.

“We, the Kung Fu community in Kenya, are happy and proud to promote the Chinese culture, especially in Kung Fu Wushu events and activities,” he said ahead of the championships

Prof. Wang Shangxue from the Confucius Institute of the University of Nairobi indicated that she was greatly impressed to see young Kenyans performing Kung Fu in Kiambu County.

“I didn’t imagine we have such a big number of Kung Fu enthusiasts in Kenya, including in a small community here,” she said

“I am happy to see that more and more people in Kenya understand the Chinese language and the Chinese culture. From that, you can see that the people-to-people communication and exchanges are becoming more prosperous. The reason is because exchanges between China and Kenya are getting bigger than before and people are beginning to know China and want to understand China and Chinese culture better,” she added

Her institute supported this year’s tournament by supplying martial arts costumes to the Kenya Kung Fu Confederation to practice and perform. Going forward, she said the Confucius Institute will play an active role in the promotion of the sport and its enthusiasts in Kenya especially through Chinese language lessons.

“We have future plans. Culture goes hand in hand with language. We want to offer free Chinese language lessons to Kung Fu members and coaches. If they understand the Chinese language, they can also understand the essence, morality, and values of Kung Fu. We would love to support them from every perspective,” she said

Evans Munzaa, a participant in the tournament expressed delight in the fact that the sport is attracting a huge following in Kenya. He believes martial arts will open more opportunities for Kenyans.

“We have hope of going further and further in Kung Fu Championships, especially by having more and more people enlisting for Kung Fu, making the Kenyan team even stronger,” he said

Sheila Ngaruiya, a Kung Fu Wushu Judge holds a similar view. She is pleased that more girls are also joining the ranks of Kenyans who not only see a future in the sport but are eager to grow it for its health and economic benefits.

“Initially girls were not part of Kung Fu. We knew this was a boys’ competition. But things have changed and girls are now joining. In schools, both at primary and Secondary level, you see girls registering to be part of Kung Fu clubs. This is remarkable progress as the number keeps growing and many are determined because there are projects to go all the way to the Olympics,” she said

Joshua Mwangi and Halima Wanga won their respective categories at the Kenya Wushu National Championship and are set to be part of the team that will head to Rwanda in June to represent Kenya at the Africa Kung Fu Championship.

Peter Murigi emerged victorious in the Wubu Quan boys category, defeating Carlos Muli and Leonard Mua who finished in second and third positions respectively. In the Chang Quan category; Lilian Nduta was unmatched alongside Joshua Mwangi and also booked a ticket to the Continental championship in June.

The top performers received a trophy, medal, and certificate of merit. The federation is calling on the Kenyan government to recognize the sport and channel more support towards its promotion in the country.

 

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