Zimbabwe So-kyokushin Karate Do Organisation branch chief Samsom Muripo is confident they will do well when they battle it out in an international tournament starting today in Nepal.
Muripo, together with Tangai Mhlanga and Pumulani Maphosa, were invited by the Nepal So-Kyokushin Karate Association to take part in their First International tournament starting today at Satdobato, Lalitpur.
Muripo, who is the most experienced among the three, said based on their previous performance, Mhlanga and Maphosa stand a good chance of doing well at the tournament.
"They are champions these guys, I expect distinctions, that's why I have confidence in them. They participated in our July International event, Tangai got bronze in the men's Open and Pumulani got gold," said Muripo.
Maphosa and Mhlanga have had their fair share of success in the past representing the country in various regional and international events with the former winning gold at the Shorin Kempo Kaikan regional tournament in 2016.
Mhlanga was in 2015 crowned champion at the first African World Fighting Kyokushinkai Organisation (WFKO) tournament in the middleweight division. He went on to represent Africa at the WFKO Grand-Prix Barcelona, Spain and came second. Speaking just before their departure on Wednesday, Mhlanga said he is ready for the challenge.
"I don't prepare for a tournament but it's my daily habit to always train hard, so I am good to go. It's my first tournament for this year and my expectations for every tournament is the same and that's to be number one. So, this means a lot to me and I am willing to utilise the opportunity and lift Zimbabwe's flag high," said Mhlanga.
Muripo, who was graded to Shihan last year, has over the years continued to do well on the international scene and his profile continues to grow. Last year he got gold in the open weight category at the Third International So-Kyokushin Karate tournament in Ahvaz, Iran. The reigning Sportsperson of the Year said he will be using this competition to gauge his state of preparedness for this year's events.
"I am using it as the barometer of my 2018 path. I hope to represent my country with distinction, as is always the case, it's not an easy path," said Muripo.
The renowned fighter is set to go for the All-Japan Karate tournament taking place on April 14 and 15 in Shizouka Prefecture, Japan, which is usually a bigger event as it attracts some of the world's best.