Nigeria’s leading women karatekas have declared their excitement ahead of the 5th Zainab Saleh International Female Open Karate Championship that will take place from October 25-28 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
The championship is the only female-focused karate tournament in West Africa and it receives players from across the region as far as Benin, Togo and Ghana.
Ujunwa Nwankwo, a black belt, said she is preparing for the championship.
“I won a silver and bronze medal in 2017, this year I am looking forward to win gold in both the kata and kumite,” Nwankwo said.
Top karate referee Rita Aina, a 4 th Dan black belt, said that the championship is an important one on the calendar of karate practitioners in the country.
“It’s an event that no female karateka in Nigeria and in West Africa will want to miss,” Aina, a World Karate Federation judge, said.
“It has gone a long way in giving female karatekas a sense of belonging in the sport in Nigeria,” she concluded.
Hajiya Zainab Saleh, the founder said: “As the karate sport is set to make its first appearance at the Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020, more competitions are required.
“This is to ensure that practitioners in Nigeria find avenues to improve themselves ahead of the big unveil.
“But for the female practitioners, a dearth of major competitions means they cannot adequately gauge their skills and the Zainab Saleh International Open Female Karate Championship fills that gap,’’ she said.
There will be competition in 32 categories that include kata and kumite from U12 to seniors in different weight classes.