The Kenya Kick-boxing Federation (KBF) is hosting the national amateur kickboxing trials at the Madison Square Garden in Nakuru.
The event, according to KBF President Mr. Japheth Yahuma (Takid Master), is being used to select the national team and nurture budding talent in the sport.
The event at the Madison Square Garden is featuring more than 15 teams from different corners of the country. He said teams from Mombasa, Kisumu, Nairobi, Kiambu, Mombasa and Nakuru counties are participating in the event.
“The tournament will be used as a build-up for the Kenya Open in December and will select the national team from here,” said Mr.Yahuma who is popularly known as ‘Takid Master’ in kickboxing circles.
Mr. Yahuma also said they are targeting more international tournaments to gear up for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
We are now preparing for more international championships as we eye the Olympics 2024,” he said.
The KBF President expressed his satisfaction with the tournament at Madison Square Garden Sports Hall where 35 senior men, 50 junior men, 15 senior ladies and 30 junior ladies aged between 4 and 40 years are participating.
He admitted that they have not been able to honour most of their assignments due to a lack of funds.
“We currently do not have enough financial support and we are looking to get in more stakeholders to support us. We also do not have enough sporting equipment,” he said.
‘Takid Master’ also said they are hoping to introduce more women and youngsters to the sport. The national team has 20 players (12 men and eight women).
“Kickboxing has not been marketed that well but I have been moving around counties to create awareness. I just want people to know that it is not a rough sport because it has rules and protective gear,” he said.
He noted that kickboxing is struggling to make its presence felt in the country adding that, behind the scenes a lot is going on to ensure this is achieved.
Kickboxing is a sport that involves punches and kicks and it is usually played in a boxing ring.
There are different versions of it, including Muay Thai, Japanese kickboxing, sanda, savate, and full kickboxing which is more popular in Kenya.
Full contact kickboxing is different from the other forms as the opponents strike with the fist and padded foot anywhere above the hip. The use of elbows, knees and un-padded shins is prohibited.
Long pants and foot pads are mandatory. The boxer also needs a mouthpiece, hand wrap, gloves, and groin cups for males.
The president affirmed that the World Kickboxing Federation of Kenya has embarked on a journey to foster talent growth, nurturing it from the grassroots level to the national stage.
Since its inception earlier this year (January), the federation has “organized several successful events to develop and promote talent growth from the grassroots all the way up to the national level.” Stated “Takid Master.”
Report by Dennis Rasto