ZIMBABWEAN martial artist Wilfred Mashaya continues to raise the country's flag high after he was awarded the Best Master of the Year in Montenegro on Sunday evening.
Mashaya was honoured at the Fifth World Humanitarian Festival of Martial Arts in Europe in Budva, Montenegro.
He was handed the award by the Montenegro Bujinkan Ninjutsu Organisation Director and Grand Master, Dai Shihan Lazarevic.
Mashaya received a certificate and a heart-shaped trophy that symbolises love, peace, and harmony which the Festival seeks to pursue each year with the theme "Stop Suicide".
Mashaya is in Montenegro until the end of the month. During his time there, he will also get ninjutsu training, special self-defence training, and other tactics.
He was the only African at the event and said he was charmed by the hospitality and love of the martial arts international community which made "me feel at home as they believe in unity and oneness. Martial arts makes us one family no matter race, religion, color, or nationality."
The organisers said they recognise the role he has played during the pandemic where he is "a shining beacon of light and inspiration to the youth and upcoming generation through his hard work even during difficult times."
In their citation, they said "we have been following your work for a long time and especially your performances and contributions that has caught the attention of many as you have represented your country of Zimbabwe in the best light around the world. We are therefore of the opinion that you are an exceptional example of a person fighting through life, always moving forward and not falling in front of obstacles," read the statement.
Mashaya was also presented with his world championship belt in weapons from Poland after he scooped three gold medals in the Weapons Virtual Competitions held a few months ago.
The karateka won the Virtual First Samurai World Championships, The Virtual Budo Bushi World Championships in Weapons, and the Virtual Open World Martial Arts Championships.
These tournaments were created last year at the advent of Covid-19 to cater to athletes who could not travel due to global travel restrictions.
And Mashaya after receiving permission from the Zimbabwe Karate Union was able to compete together with karatekas from his Zim Ninja Academy to compete in about eight virtual competitions and scooped a total of 70 medals.