Judo tournament returns after three-year hiatus

The Japan Ambassadors Judo Tournament kicked off yesterday at Hartman House School in Harare with exciting clashes in the junior category as the annual competition returned in style after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic .

Now in its fifth year, the tournament attracted over 100 judoka aged 5 to 11 for a colorful first day.

The level of competition was incredible with all races represented and parents cheering on their children.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s grandchildren, Joshua, Luciano and David scored big, winning gold in their respective categories.

The tournament sponsor, Japan’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Satoshi Tanaka was impressed with the level of competition.

“It was so exciting to see that judo is still popular among Zimbabweans. It was good to see kids fighting so hard,” Tanaka said.

“We seek to spread Japanese culture through judo, it is a pleasure for us to sponsor this tournament.

“Judo is good for the mental and physical aspect but above all for the soul.”

“I hope Zimbabwe will qualify for the Paris Olympics in two years,” Ambassador Tanaka said.

Zimbabwe Judo Association President Smart Deke was pleased with the tournament as it is part of their development initiative.

“This is where it all starts and we want to spread judo by catching them young,” he said.

“These are our future Olympians and tomorrow (today) we will have the Cadets, Juniors and Seniors as we prepare for the Region 5 matches which will be hosted by Malawi in December.

“We are also preparing for the African Games next year which will be hosted by Ghana.

“We want the sport of judo to grow and we are happy that it is now part of physical education in schools.” says Deke

Matches continue today in the senior category where Zimbabwe judokas will battle for honors against their Zambian counterparts.

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