The Sunday Mail
THE World Karate Federation (WKF) have moved swiftly to end the discord that had characterised local karate by writing to the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) confirming their decision to affiliate the Zimbabwe National Karate Federation (ZNKF) as the country’s sole representative of the sport at the global body.
The recent WKF Congress in Dubai decided to affiliate ZNKF and revoke Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKU)’s membership.
After disaffiliating ZKU, the world body wasted no time in clarifying with the ZOC authorities which representative they would recognise in terms of organising international karate competitions in Zimbabwe.
WKF president Antonio Espinos wrote to his ZOC counterpart Thabani Gonye explaining the latest position.
“The WKF Congress has decided to permanently affiliate Zimbabwe National Karate Federation (ZNKF) as the WKF member in Zimbabwe, thus ratifying the earlier decision of the WKF executive committee (WKF EC) to provisionally affiliate ZNKF,” wrote Espinos.
“Furthermore, the WKF Congress has also decided to permanently disaffiliate Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKU), ratifying the decision already taken by the WKF executive committee to provisionally disaffiliate ZKU.
“Consequently, we hereby urge Zimbabwe Olympic Committee to recognise without further delay WKF member in Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe National Karate Federation (ZNKF) – in accordance with the Olympic Charter Rule 28.”
Espinos also congratulated ZNKF president Joe Rugwete.
“We are looking forward to working in close cooperation with you as the rightful representative of karate in Zimbabwe for the benefit of the sport of karate and karate athletes in your country over the coming years,’’ he said.
Rugwete, who was this year elected the African Union Sports Council Region Five Karate Federation president, is ironically a former ZKU president.
He warned of WKF sanctions in the event that the local body did not comply with the international federation’s regulations.
At the height of the discord, Rugwete gave The Sunday Mail Sport an insight into developments in karate and outlined the differences between ZNKF and ZKU.
“The major differences are that we use different competition rules and regulations from those that ZKU uses. We participate in regional games, African games, World Championships and the Olympics, while the ZKU does not.
“We affiliate to one international federation while ZKU members all affiliate to different international organisations,’’ he said then.