Sponsor of Strata Base Karate Senior Open Championship, Engineer Elekwachi Chukwudi Dimkpa revealed to www.aclsports.com that difficulties encountered by martial arts practitioners in getting sponsors inspired him to organise an annual Karate Championship.
The second edition of Strata Base Karate Senior Open Championship is scheduled for 12th to 15th April, 2023 in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State.
Dimkpa said he began with the U12/U14 Karate Championship in 2019 which produced National Youth Games champions before embarking on Seniors Championship.
The South South Zonal Representative on the board of Karate Federation of Nigeria said there will be improved quality of competition amongst the athletes as well as referees.
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He said, “Having trained under Shihan Charles Mezie-Okoye of the Allstars Shotokan Karate Association in the early 90s, I had first hand experience with the difficulties martial arts practitioners experienced in getting sponsors and organising karate events.
“Additionally, I have benefited from the positive impact that martial arts have on character building.
“With these two factors, it was a no brainer when my good friend and fellow dojo mate, Chief Instructor of Zen Budo Karate, Sensei Amakiri Oruamabo approached me to sponsor our maiden edition of the U12/U14 Karate Championship in 2019.
“That event has run successfully for 3 editions. Some of the talents we discovered at this event have gone ahead to excel at the National Youth Sports Festival.
“The idea of having a senior event was hatched last year (2022) with the intention of growing the talents discovered at the U12/U14 to the National & International Stage”, Dimkpa told www.aclsports.com
“I want to assure you that there is going to be improved quality of the Karate Championship as competitors, judges & referees continue to bridge the gap with local standards. An interesting challenge for the top by the upcoming karatékas who wish to improve their national ranking”, he added.
He further said athletes stand to benefit from improved ranking, which gives them the opportunity to represent the country as well as improved cash prizes.
The board member of KFN said the Federation is working assiduously to engrave Karate into the educational system in the country.
He added that state coaches in the various councils/commissions have huge roles to play in recruiting talents in their states.
He said, “Karate is already deeply rooted at the grassroot through private karate clubs and other non government initiatives such as the karate in schools program.
“The Karate Federation of Nigeria is also driving a schools program initiative through a structured system at the Primary, Secondary, Polytechnic and University. More sponsors from the private sector can still come together so we can fund an Inter-School program across all levels.”
“The state coaches from the sports councils also need to play a crucial role by visiting the private clubs and recruiting talents to represent the state at youth events”, he said.
On Nigeria’s chances of featuring at the Paris 2024 Olympics, Dimkpa said, “While Karate was introduced in Japan 2020 as a demonstration sport, it’s not certain if Karate would be at the Paris 2024 Olympics. However, our athletes are beginning to make strong statements on the international scene and would definitely be able to qualify for the Paris Olympics”.