Tong-Il Moo-Do: Kenyan official hopes Omicron threat won't halt tourney
The Kenya Tong-Il Moo-Do Federation (KTMF) is optimistic that the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, will not hamper its preparations to host the ninth edition of the Mombasa Open Tong-IL Moo-Do Martial Arts Championship.
The event will take place at the Aga Khan Academy Multipurpose Hall from December 11 to December 22 and, it has so far attracted competitors from 22 countries, including eight from Africa.
"Even though some participating countries have recently put in place strict travel restrictions following the emergence of the new Covid-19 strain, we are upbeat that all countries that will attend the tournament," Clarence Mwakio, who is the KTMF President, told Nation Sport.
"Preparations to host a great tournament are in top gear and, we have been in constant communication with the Ministry of Sports, who are our main sponsors, to ensure that," Mwakio added.
The 23 participating countries, including hosts Kenya, are Angola, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Central Africa Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Cyprus, DR Congo and Ethiopia.
Others are Germany, Iran, Ivory Coast, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, the United States of America, and Zambia.
The Kenyan team will comprise 36 men and 14 women who earned their spot in Team Jasiri during national trials held in Mombasa and Nairobi on November 20 and November 21.
"We look forward to defending our title. The male players will compete in ten weight classes and, there will be five weight classes in the female category," Mwakio said.
"Some weight classes will also have age-grade contests since the tournament is open to players who are between eight and 55 years old," he added.
Kenya has won all previous eight editions of the Mombasa Open. Team Jasiri will expect tough competition from the Philippines who finished second in the 2020 edition with 13 gold, 11 silver and three bronze medals.
Kenya had 32 gold, 31 silver, and 41 bronze medals in that edition which attracted 10 nations.
Mwakio also confirmed that the competitors will receive training on martial arts skills, learn character education, and participate in martial arts styles that include demonstration, sparring, special techniques, and form competition.
“The competitors will receive the training from international masters and grandmasters from the World Tong- IL Moo-Do Federation. We will also reserve days for voluntary community service and touring of historical sites and wildlife parks," he added.
Joon Ho Seuk, founder and great grandmaster of Tong-Il Moo-Do, will grace the tournament with World Tong-Il Moo-Do Federation President, grandmaster Takamistu Hoshiko.
Tong-IL Moo-Do is a unified martial art discipline from South Korea founded in 1979 by Joon Ho Seuk before it picked up in Kenya in 1987.