Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
REIGNING Zimbabwe Sports Woman of the Year and seasoned journalist, Grace Chirumanzu is in Accra, Ghana representing the country at the second edition of the African Regional Congress on Martial Arts which is aimed at discussing the role and status of martial arts in Africa.
She will also speak on the status of the sport in Zimbabwe and the challenges faced by female athletes and the disabled in martial arts.
Chirumanzu travelled with the reigning Sports Person of the Year, Wilfred Mashaya.
“I feel honoured to be part of this conference and being one of the panelists to give a voice of issues affecting youth and women in African Martial Arts. It’s my dream to see martial arts being embraced in Africa and having different stakeholders coming together to help athletes achieve greatness. Besides competing at major tournaments l hope to see more women and young people taking up martial arts as it teaches valuable life lessons. I have become a strong woman who carefully evaluates which battles to fight in life and the outcomes I want from them,” said Chirumanzu.
After the Ghana congress, Chirumanzu is expected to fly to Moscow, Russia for the upcoming sixth Kyokushin Karate World Cup next month.
“We are hoping to have some corporates coming through to support us as we need funding for the trip. It’s always frustrating for a karateka or any athlete for that matter to work so hard and end up not competing. It’s demotivating because it’s just like in school, when you study hard for an exam you just want that opportunity to show off your knowledge and prove you are growing,” she said.
Writing on her official Facebook account, Chirumanzu said it was always frustrating for any athlete to spend a lot of time looking for financial resources that would enable them to participate in major international events instead of using that time to prepare for the competition.
“I dream of a time when all athletes need to do is focus on training and not raising funds for travel to tournaments. If in the past we have beaten well-organised teams and athletes who train in good gyms, have good diet, have presentable uniforms, just imagine the athletes we could become globally if we have proper sponsorship,” said Chirumanzu.