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Home / Namibia eyes karate glory at home…as Region 5 champs set for weekend

Namibia eyes karate glory at home…as Region 5 champs set for weekend

2024-06-18  Maurice Kambukwe

Namibia eyes karate glory at home…as Region 5 champs set for weekend

Namibia’s karate national team coach Stefan van der Merwe believes home advantage will be a significant boost, as they chase glory at the upcoming 18th edition of the Africa Union Sports Council Region 5 Karate Federation Championships.

The prestigious tournament kicks off this weekend at the Swakopmund MTC Dome, attracting teams from seven nations: Namibia (host), South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique, and Lesotho.

Team Namibia boasts a formidable force of 149 athletes, both male and female. The youngest competitor is 10 years old, while the most seasoned member is 35 years old and expected to bring a wealth of experience to the table.

Last year’s edition was held in Harare, Zimbabwe, and saw South Africa dominate the competition, securing a staggering total of 147 medals. 

Namibia last year finished fourth overall, winning a total of 42 medals (four gold, 14 silver & 24 bronze medals).  However, coach Van der Merwe is confident that the tables will turn this year, with Namibia riding the wave of home advantage.

“Hosting the tournament brings immense expectations for Namibia. With a large team exceeding 100 participants, our goal is to finish on top. Fighting in front of a home crowd will undoubtedly fuel our motivation and medal count. The home turf advantage can have a tremendously positive impact on our athletes’ performance,” he said. 

Addressing the team’s readiness, Van der Merwe emphasised their commitment to rigorous training. “We’ve been training since the team’s selection back in March.”

“Our athletes participated in various regional training camps, collaborating with coaches throughout the country to ensure everyone is on the same page. I’m confident that the team is fully prepared to bring their best to the competition,” he added. 

Meanwhile, team captain Keanu Stuurman said he is excited about the competition and believes after months of training, the team is in a good position to gun for glory. 

“I’m very excited about the upcoming competition taking place this weekend in Swakopmund. This is my first as the team captain of Namibia and I am positive we can lead Namibia to the top of Southern Africa. As a team, we have relentlessly prepared to take the title and make the nation proud. I look forward to competing for Namibia again,” he said 

Also adding on the team readiness and goals for the tournament, Merziaan Mouton – a junior female kata athlete and continental silver medallist for 2023 – said she has prepared enough and looks forward to the competition. 

“I’ve been pushing, myself to new limits and feeling stronger with each session. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to showcase my skills and compete alongside such talented athletes at this prestigious event,” said a confident Mouton.

2024-06-18  Maurice Kambukwe

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