Sergeant John Wesonga of Ulinzi team (In blue) attempts a kick against Regional’s Kelvin Mutisya during the Lower Division men’s semi-finals during the Chairman’s Taekwondo Cup tournament 2018, at the Embakasi Garrison on 9 May 2018.
Kenya Defence Forces overcame strong opposition to emerge winners of the KDF Taekwondo Chairman’s Cup 2018, at a tournament held at the Embakasi Garrison Nairobi on 9 May 2018.
KDF managed the top position overall among nine teams which included their habitual opponents the Kenya Police Service and the National Youth Service. The second position overall was taken by the National Youth Service while Regional, a civilian team came third. In the weight category ranking, KDF teams won both position one and two in the men’s Upper division with National Police Service ending up third. KDF again showed might by topping the women in the same category while Police and Prisons were second and third respectively. KDF shared the spoils in the lower division category where the men came third behind Team Mansule from Kibabii University and Regional from Nairobi. The women too took third position after NYS and National Police Service.
In the women’s finals matches, in the lower division NYS beat Police 44-30 points, while in the upper division KDF edged out Police with a points difference of 33 (51-18). This match proved to be the most exciting of the day and the climax of the tournament, after the upper men’s division saw two KDF teams meet in the final, forcing the referees to call off the match. The lower men’s division saw Regional who beat KDF in the semi-finals win over Team Mansule from Kibabii University 25-19.
Speaking at the event, Artillery Brigade Commander Brigadier Isaac Muchendu appreciated all the participants and organisers for providing an exciting day, mentioning that he was glad that the sport of Taekwendo had grown massively within the country. Brigadier Muchendu was thankful that Embakasi Garrison had been chosen to host the event, citing that the same hall where the bouts were organised was the original home of taekwondo within KDF in the early 80s. “I would also like to mention the importance of sports in bringing people together, and I am glad that despite all of you being from different teams, you have displayed maximum sportsmanship, friendship and discipline as you competed amongst yourselves,” he added. He also lauded all the teams that had accepted to answer to the invite of being part of the tournament.
Brigadier Muchendu also relayed the Defence Forces Taekwondo Association Chairman and Moi Air Base Commander Brigadier Mohamed Badi’s message to the participants, where Brigadier Badi praised the class of bouts that the fighters displayed, noting that Kenya had continued to produce continental and global champions in the sport, which some years back was not so popular. “Such performance is indeed an indicator of good effort put by the entire Taekwondo coaches. I wish to urge all coaches to work as one team and continue with the same spirit with the ultimate aim of training more Kenyans to be Taekwondo compliant and produce the best players who can compete on continental and international assignments”, he said. Brigadier Badi also announced that the Chairman’s Cup would be an annual event that would be organised every May. He also thanked the Embakasi Garrison for stepping up and organising an impressive tournament.
The nine teams present were KDF, National Police Service, National Youth Service, Kenya Prisons Service, Regional, Kilifi, Menengai, Team Mansule (Kibabii), USIU Africa and Mtopanga from the Coast. The teams were allowed to create sub-teams, where KDF put forward seven teams. A total of 19 matches made the day, with each match being of a 5 – aside elimination nature, where each of the 5 fighters from a team would face a specific opponent for a minute, while the 5 fighters from a team would face the other 5 fighters from the opposing team, for five continuous minutes, with an allowance of change of fighter for any team, at any moment.
The players were divided into two weight divisions, where the lower division comprises the Fin, Fly, Bantam and Feather weights while the upper comprises the Light, Welter, Middle and Heavy weights.
Among the attractions was Sapper Newton Maliro who is an African and World Military Games Silver medallist, and he didn’t disappoint with his characteristic drop kicks. KDF teams used the tournament to prepare for upcoming World Taekwondo Military Championships that will be held in Brazil in the month of November among other upcoming national competitions. The Chairman’s cup was sponsored by Postbank.
Others present included Vice Chair of the Defence Forces Taekwondo Association Colonel Samuel Ondiro, Officers, officials from the Kenya Taekwondo Federation and KDF Service Personnel.
World and African Military Games Silver medallist Sapper Newton Maliro of KDF makes a drop kick against Julius Munga of NYS during the men’s Upper Division semi finals.
KDF’s Senior Private Irene Achieng (in blue) takes on Margaret Mwaniki of National Youth Service, during the Upper Division women’s final match.
KDF’s Caroline Kimani overpowers NYS’s Violet Ochal during the finals of the Upper division Women’s category.
Participants from various teams of the KDF Taekwondo Chairman’s Cup Championship 2018 line up in preparation for the award ceremony.
Commander Artillery Brigade, Brigadier Isaac Muchendu presents the Overall Winner’s trophy to Sergeant Bonface Oyugi of the Kenya Defence Forces after the KDF team beat other teams.