HARARE – The Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKU) has showered praise on Sensei Samson Muripo after his third place finish at World Kyokushin Union Championships in Bulgaria on Sunday.
Muripo won the bronze medal in the 80kg category and was the only African male karateka to get past the third round stage.
South African female fighter Desiree Radushin was the only other African to win a medal at the Championships after she clinched bronze in the 70kg category.
ZKU secretary-general Steven Charandura said: “As a union and Zimbabwe as a whole, we are very proud of what Muripo has achieved. This helps fly our flag high on the world map and Zimbabwe will be recognised as a strong karate nation.
“In Africa we are the best. Muripo’s achievement shows Zimbabwe’s resilience and determination. We are a nation that does not want to settle for second best.
“Russia and the Bulgaria were the only nations that I think are ranked above us.”
There were over 293 karatekas from at least 50 countries taking part at the Championships in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
Zimbabwe was only able to send six fighters owing to the ZKU’s financial constraints.
“We just urge our other athletes to try and follow Muripo’s good example and strive to do well in international competitions,” said Charandura.
“We are also appealing to the corporate world for financial assistance. We have a lot of talented fighters who are as good as Muripo but they are failing to attend international tournaments because they do not have sponsorship.”