The second United World Karate South Africa National Championships was held at the Fish River Sun Hotel over the past weekend. More than 270 karateka contested the Championship in categories ranging from novice to elite. Federations and affiliates in attendance included South African Shotokan Karate Academy (SASKA), South African National Shotokan Association (SANSA), World JKA Karate Association (WJKA SA), Shotokan ZA and Shotokan Circle as well as numerous individually affiliated dojos from across the province and country.
Hosts, East Cape Shotokan-Ryu (Grahamstown and Port Alfred) claimed overall top position, closely followed by WJKA SA and Joza Karate Club (Grahamstown) in second and third places respectively.
Outstanding individual performances in the elite categories included Mzwandile Matebese (Joza Karate Club Grahamstown) claiming top position in the Veteran Men’s Kumite (fighting).
Both the Junior Men’s Kata (forms) and Kumite categories were won by Thanduxolo Royi (Joza Karate Club) while Lutho Singata (Rhodes University Shotokan Karate Club) won the Senior Men’s Kumite Category. Royi also went on to win the Senior Men’s Kata Category.
There was some intense action in the Cadet Boys (15-17yrs of age) Kata and Kumite categories. Brent Smith (ECSR, Grahamstown) and Isa Ayob of (WJKA SA, Port Elizabeth) duelled it out in both the kata and kumite finals. Smith managed to edge Ayob in the kata with the positions narrowly reversed in the kumite. “Smith and Ayob share a healthy rivalry and are certainly two karateka to watch for the future,” said UWKSA President, Gary Grapentin. Bongi Mbangeli (Joza Karate Club, Grahamstown) placed second in the senior ladies kumite category.
Some notable performances from local female karate included a number of gold medal performances. After watching her son claim medals in kumite and kata, Heidi Smith won kata and kumite gold in the veteran 36+ green to purple belt. It was another family affair for the Syed Cassim family, with Zarina winning gold in the veterans 36+ white to orange, while her children Tehzeeb and Ali-Ahmed won kata gold, 6 to 8 category, white to orange and Kata silver, 11-12 red to black respectively. In the various children’s category’s, Anganam Nyamanda (Joza) won kata gold (9-10 green to purple), Iviwe Nyoka (Joza) won kumite gold (9-10 white to orange), Nalikhaya Matiwana (Joza) won kumite gold (11-12 white to orange) and Sisipho Jali (Joza) won kumite and kata gold (11-12 green to purple).
According to Grapentin, the Championship was extremely successful with UWKSA showing positive growth in membership over the past 12 months. Based on results achieved at the weekend’s Championship, a team will be selected to represent UWKSA in Italy later this year at the UWK World Championships. UWKSA is endorsed and recognised by United World Karate, one of the largest international karate sports federations. For more information Gary Grapentin may be contacted at email@example.com