Kisumu, Kenya – Kisumu County recently hosted the National Inter-Counties Karate Championships, attracting over 12 teams from various parts of the country. The event, held on Sunday, was a collaborative effort between the Kenya Karate Federation and the Kisumu County Karate Association.
According to Kenya News Agency, Assistant Technical Director of the Kenya Karate Federation, the national club championships are typically held towards the end of the year, from October to December. The event included over six categories, featuring senior male and female team 'kata' and 'Kumite', as well as a special category for juniors under 16 years for both boys and girls. 'Kumite' refers to the fighting aspect of karate, while 'kata' involves a series of movements and techniques performed before a panel of judges. Gichine explained, "During this championship, we usually select members of the national team to participate in the All African Games," which are scheduled to take place in Accra, Ghana, in March 2024.
Dr. Mark Ouche, Chairman of the Lake Region Karate Association and founder of the Kisumu Karate Academy, noted the growth of karate in the region. He mentioned that several clubs and schools, including Kisumu Boys School and Jalaram Academy, have fully embraced the sport. Despite this growth, Dr. Ouche expressed concerns about the limited financial support for karate compared to other sports like football. "Since sports is devolved, it is expected that the county government should come up with support schemes for all sporting activities, including karate," he stated. Dr. Ouche also clarified the distinction between karate and similar martial arts like Taekwondo, noting that karate integrates elements of Judo and boxing and can vary in intensity from a vicious art to a moderated form for sports scoring.
Martin Maina from the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) team, which defended its title in the male kata category, encouraged youth participation in karate. "I would like to tell other youth to join the great art of karate, which keeps you busy and away from drugs because of the discipline it dispels," he advised. The KNH female team also secured a gold medal, while the Kenya Police Service teams B and A earned silver and bronze, respectively, in the same category.
In the male Kumite category, the Kenya Police Service emerged victorious, while the Moi University team clinched gold in the female category.