Karate Clubs in Kakamega County have appealed to the County government to include the sport in the Governor’s Annual Cup tournament to help nurture and identify talent.
The Secretary General of Kakamega County Karate Association, Christopher Ouma, who is also a referee with the Kenya Karate Federation said Karate had huge potential in the region with the sport continuing to draw interest from upcoming talents.
He said, including the sport in the Governor’s cup will enable the clubs to popularize the sport and help expose the budding talents who could go on to win the country medals at international level.
The available Karate clubs in Kakamega include Masinde Muliro University, Sigalagala National Polytechnic, Kakamega Karate Club, Imbale Karate club in Mbale Secondary school, Musingu Secondary school Karate club, Mumias and Lugari Karateka Clubs.
He says that Karate does not require too much space, only space in a hall and a Tatami, the mat used by the players as a surface and helps in minimizing injuries amongst players .
The Chairman of Kakamega County Karate Club Wilson Mutende said they are on course to ensure that Karateka’s in Kakamega County Karate clubs get better training and bring stakeholders on board to help improve the sport.
He asked the county government’s County Executive Committee Member in charge of Sports Mophat Mandela to support the Karate Clubs in the county with training equipment, sportswear and other logistics to make the sport vibrant.
“In terms of equipment, we have those called handmitts, which we put on in our palms, there are those mats which we don’t have, they are called the Tatami. We need the mats so that we can train when we are comfortable to avoid cases of injuries, we also need uniforms and protective gear,” he added.
He noted that through the sport, the clubs are engaging the youth and training them on life skills and helping to stop drugs and substance abuse.
Western Region Karate Association Commissioner George Alexander Mulama said the association is actively doing a recruitment drive for Karateka’s from the grassroots, in both primary, secondary schools and in colleges.
He noted that Karate does not have age limits, with available categories for the young, middle and the old ages.
A Karate trainer at the Kakamega County Karate Club, Musungu Ngaira said that Kakamega County Karatee club has recorded great achievements in recent competitions.
He said that, in 2019, during the Inter-counties competitions in Nakuru, Kakamega county emerged the winners under the Ladies category.
“Still in 2019, during the African Karate Championships in Rwanda, Kakamega County Karate club’s Nelson Ligami, was among the Karateka’s who represented Kenya in the championships,” he added.
However, Ngaira says that the biggest challenge the Karate Clubs of Kakamega face is that some people still perceive Karate as a Foreign sport.
“As teachers we want to domesticate it.We want every household and in every family to have a Karateka just like in football, where we have footballers almost in every household,” he added.
The Karatekas also encouraged ladies to take part in the sport, which just like any other sport in the country, improves one’s keenness, keeps fit and helps a person to develop courage.
Report by Moses Wekesa,KNA -KAKAMEGA