Ryushinkan Karate International Botswana (RIKBO) will send a strong team to represent the country at the International Ryushinkan Karate Championships. The event will be held in Kimberley, South Africa, from the 4th to the 6th of July this week. Speaking in an interview, Ryushinkan Representative in Botswana, Sensei Isaiah Ramontshonyana, said RIKBO will send a team of over thirty athletes to compete at the games.
He added that, so far, 33 athletes have registered to compete at the championships, adding that with the final names of competitors expected on Monday, there is a likelihood that the number of athletes going to the championships will increase.
The team, which will be coached by Sensei Tom Kooagile, is expected to leave the country for Kimberley on Thursday.
Going into the championships, Ramontshonyana said he expects the team to compete well and bring home silverware, adding that, as a team, the RIKBO is targeting at least a few gold medals in the championships.
“Our target is to win a few gold medals, especially in the Kata category where we have been doing well in the past championships. Our other target will be to try and win a few more medals in the Kumite which South Africa has dominated in all the past championships,” Ramontshonyana explained.
They said that they expect to pick gold medals in both the 12 ÔÇô 13 year-old boys’ and girls’ categories as well as in the 14 ÔÇô 16 year-olds’ junior boys’ and girls’ categories, the categories which he said Botswana has done well in during past championships. Quizzed on the team’s performances since they started competing in the championships, Ramontshonyana said the team has shown constant improvement over the years.
“When we went for our first championships in 2010, we had a very poor outing as we were not very familiar with the style. We did badly, more especially in the Kata categories where competition was based on only the Ryushinkan Katas, which we were not familiar with,” he explained, adding that since then, there has been a marked improvement as the team has practiced and learned the style.
Concerning the preparations for this year’s championships, Ramontshonyana said that despite the fact that the team will train together only once on Wednesday, he believes preparations had gone very well.
“Our athletes have been training in their regions in preparation for the championships. In the North, we have had Sensei Kooagile training the athletes while in the South, I was tasked with training the athletes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ramontshonyana said the championships will start midday on Friday. He said upon the completion of the first day of competition, there will be a training session for the Botswana team, which will be conducted by Ryushinkan’s top Instructor for Africa. The training comes as per the request from RIKBO.
He said with the instructor having not come to Botswana, RIKBO felt it needed to seize the opportunity at the championships to train with him. The Ryushinkan team will be expected back home from Kimberley on Sunday.