Karateka target medals | SASCOC - SASCOC

Karateka target medals

By Mark Etheridge
in Maputo

South Africa’s karate team competing at the 10th All Africa Games here are hopeful of adding three medals to the team total.

The karate code kicks into action on Tuesday 6 September and will last for two days.

The squad is nine strong and includes two kata athletes and a seven-strong kumite team. Bruno Schwalbach will double up and do kata and kumite team duties. The individuals vary in weight divisions from Xachous Banyane in the Under-60 class to Shane Moss in the Over-84kg slot.

Manager/coach is Christian le Roux and while acknowledging the strength of karate on the continent is hopeful of three medals at least. “I would say our best chances are Morgan Moss, Coral Jacobs and Bruno Schwalbach. Having said that we are up against it here. Karate is very strong in northern and central Africa and a few countries will have squads of up to 30 members.

“Egypt are top dogs and Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal and Ivory Coast are all very strong.

“Currently I’d say South Africa are hovering around about the top five mark.”

An indication of what we’re up against can be seen that at the 2010 African Championships held on home soil in Cape Town, South African karateka could only manage two bronze medals.

“A lot of it has to be travel expenses. I know Bruno’s [Schwalbach parents paid at least R100,000 just in flight costs last year to get him and his brother around the world to the top competitions that are vital for success in this sport.

The kata competition can best be described as martial gymnastics where two individuals go through an exercise lasting between 90 seconds and two minutes whereafter the three referees signal the winner by the raising of either a blue or red flag.

The kumite team competition features a match-up of up to seven fighters in each team. Each fight lasts a maximum of one round (three minutes) and it’s up to the coach in which order each weight division will fight.

Meanwhile in other sports played on Monday, our table tennis team had three wins. The women’s team beat Gabon 3-0 in group action and the men beat Zambia 3-0 and Ethiopia 3-0.

Our badminton team took out Congo 5-0

Then in the boxing there was a win and two losses for our pugilists.

The winner was Ayabonga Sonjica, who won his 56kg bout 14-7 against his Tanzanian opponent in the knock-out round of preliminaries.

Not so lucky were Ladumo Lamati and Gift Pilane. Lamati went down heavily, 21-6 in the 52kg division, also against a Kenyan opponent while Pilane also took a pasting, 23-8 to his Mozambican opponent in the 49kg category.