MORE than 500 karatekas from clubs around the country will converge at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) Missionvale campus to take part in the Kyokushinkai National Championships in Port Elizabeth.
The three-day 2012 South African Kyokushinkai Karate Championships, hosted by the Eastern Cape Kyokushinkai Karate Association, starts today. The tournament is expected to be the biggest event of its kind in the region.
Kyokushinkai Karate has six dojos in the Bay – Korsten, NMMU south campus, Coega, Zwide, Kwazakhele and KwaNobuhle.
Last year the annual tournament was held at the University of Cape Town.
This year’s tournament has attracted contestants from Limpopo, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Mpumalanga, North West and Gauteng.
Event organiser Sensei Zolile Maxama said the tournament would be divided into juniors aged four to 17, seniors 18 and over (men and women in separate categories); and veterans.
He said the event was last held in the Bay in 2008, at the Uitenhage Indoor Sports Centre.
"My aim is to have this competition draw large numbers again. I hope the sport will be revived and supported in the region.”
The fighting styles in all categories in the event will be the clicker (semi-contact), junior, senior and veteran knockdown (full contact) and the kata.
This year’s tournament would be used to select under-17 junior fighters to take part in the Children and Youth International Tournament on Reunion island in September and a senior team for the SA Champion of Champions in Cape Town in October as well as the World Weight Senior Championships in Tokyo next year.
The top three winners in the u-14 category will receive medals. The u-17s and the seniors will receive trophies.