Zim karateka seeks sponsorship

HARARE - Budding Zimbabwe junior karateka Beavan Sibanda is running behind schedule in his quest to participate in his maiden international competition in Bulgaria early December owing to lack of finances.

The young Sibanda has been invited to compete in the 5th KWU Kyokushi Open Youth World Championship (Kumite) in Varna, Bulgaria but has remained stranded as he is supposed to raise his own ticket fares to Sofia.

The organisers of the event have made available a connecting flight ticket from Sofia to Varna on top of providing accommodation and food during his stay in Bulgaria.

Sibanda is not alone in this battle as another Zimbabwean, Emmauel Kadiwa, who has also been invited to be among the judges at the event is also facing a similar challenge and so is the athlete’s coach.

“It is every athlete’s dream to compete at the highest level of the game and after doing so well in numerous local and regional events including South Africa, I earned myself a call up to fight at the World Youth Championships but my participation hangs in the balance as I’m struggling to raise the air fares,” Sibanda told the Daily News yesterday.

“I’m supposed to be going there with my coach and one guy who is supposed to be on the judges’ bench and all are equally struggling to raise the required amounts, it is my hope that some patriotic corporates or individuals can chip in and make this dream a reality.

“We are in a tight spot because we are also racing against time to have our visas done because they require at least two weeks to be processed.”

Sibanda began his karate career in Harare’s Highfield high density suburb and is a major contender for a gold medal.

His style is a mixture of strength, passion and pure athleticism and is widely touted to have the potential to help change the notion that strong, powerful, unattractive and Asian men dominate karate.

He has won gold locally last year before bagging the All Africa so Kyokushin under 30kgs gold in July last year as well as the Kenshin Kai full contact under 40kg gold medal in November the same year.

This year, Sibanda won a bronze medal in the Shorin Kempo All Africa event in May before scooping gold in the All Africa So Kyokushin under 40kg in August silver medal in the Len Barnes memorial tournament in October.

Kadiwa, the only African set to officiate in these world championships, was equally worried.

“We are worried whether we are going to make it Bulgaria or not. This will be the first time Sibanda competes at this level, he has fought locally and regionally including in South Africa where he got silver medal and overall best technique accolade and it will be nice for him to get that international exposure,” Kadiwa said.

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