Harare – Karate events may currently be restricted to virtual participation due to COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped Zimbabwean karateka Wilfred Mashaya from excelling.
During the pandemic, Mashaya has won the World Virtual Championships and also found time to introduce his five-year old son Wifred Junior to the discipline.
Now he has something else to smile about.
The Zimbabwean was this week appointed the ambassador of the game by the Mediterranean Karate Alliance.
The Mediterranean Karate Alliance covers all countries in the Mediterranean region, as well Nepal, the Philippines, Russia, Scotland, Sicily, South Africa and Zimbabwe, among other countries and territories.
The organisation’s marquee event is the annual Mediterranean Grand Prix.
Tasked with the mandate of spreading the popularity of the form of karate known as Kobudo in Africa – seeing as he was the first world champion from the continent in this style two years ago – Mashaya has now been recognised as an ambassador of the sport.
He said, “I feel honored to be recognised by the World and to be chosen to represent my country in the promotion of martial arts. It feels so good to raise one’s country flag high and putting the country and Southern Africa on the map through sports.”
Mashaya is the first African athlete to be inducted in the Barcelona Hall of Honours. He was also inducted into the Serbian Hall of Fame in 2019 following his listing in the Heroes Hall of Honours in Venice, Italy, in 2018.
Mashaya won the Sportsperson of the Year in the Regional Annual Sports Awards in Windhoek, Namibia, in 2019 after a series of impressive performances that year which ultimately saw him being inducted into the London International Hall of Fame. The London Hall of Fame is Europe’s oldest and longest running Hall of Fame.
Mashaya is looking forward to participating in at least five world championship events this year after COVID-19 washed away the 2020 Kobudo calendar.