HARARE - Mabvuku-based judokas George Tsvande and Charlene Nyamutsita were the big winners at the inaugural Japanese Ambassador Judo Cup held at Hartman House in Harare at the weekend.
Tsvande was crowned the overall Ambassadors’ Cup champion while Nyamutsita won the best Ippon award (boxing equivalent of a knockout).
“It’s a great feeling and honour to win the inaugural tournament. I have worked very hard on my training preparing for this contest but I must admit it was a difficult competition altogether,” Tsvande told the Daily News.
“Looking ahead, this only confirms that there’s something that I’m doing right and can only hope to keep getting better.
“It came to me as a surprise; I didn’t expect to win the Cup but I’m grateful to the panel of adjudicators for recognising my efforts.”
The event witnessed by the Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Yoshi “Tendai” Hiraishi and Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane attracted four teams fighting under the judo principles of Honour, Respect, Courage and Discipline.
These teams comprised fighters drawn from the police, Mbare, Rolf Valley, Dzivarasekwa, Highfield, Prince Edward School and Mabvuku.
Each team was made up of five judokas, four men and a woman fighting in weight categories of U60, U66, U73, U81 and Over 81kg.
Hlongwane said the Japanese’ involvement in local judo was set to guarantee the country of positive results.
“...I am glad to note that, judo by its origins has strong roots in Japan, and this event is symbolic of the cordial exchanges between Zimbabwe and Japan in the area of sport, thus enhancing the friendly links between the two peoples-the Japanese and Zimbabweans,” Hlongwane said.
“...I am certain that with the past and current Japanese support for our judo sport, we can highly expect to achieve spectacular results and further recognition at home and abroad.”
Hiraishi urged Zimbabwe to emulate Japan and consider including judo in the school curriculum.
“... Judo has been adopted in secondary school education curriculum in Japan for a long time, judo has been one of the compulsory subjects to select for physical and mental training in Japanese police,” Hiraishi said.
“... May I take this opportunity to humbly suggest that you consider the inclusion of judo in the education curriculum of this country? I will be happy to convey such a request to Tokyo with their recommendation to dispatch Japanese judo experts to this country for the promotion of judo again in the future.”