Judo Sport

Medals elude judokas at Africa Open tourney

MATHEWS KABAMBA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA finished without a medal at the Africa Open Judo Championship in Tunisia last weekend.
Mathews Punza, Abigail Chindele and Boas Munyonga were all eliminated in the first round.
Punza was beaten by Jereb Andraz of Slovenia and Chindele lost to Garcia Mesa Cinta of Spain in the first round.
Munyonga wrapped up with defeat to Al-aameri Hussain of Iraq.
But Zambia Judo Association (ZJA) general secretary Mabvuto Ng’uni said they were impressed with the performance of the trio despite failing to win medals.
Ng’uni said from Tunisia on Monday that the judokas have improved.
“The judokas were pitted against the best in the world and managed to put up good performances. Their rankings have improved and most importantly their chances of qualifying for the Olympics are still alive provided they perform well in upcoming championships.
“In April, we have the African Championships in Tunisia, there is the Morocco Open in March, and the French Grand Slam this month. Our hope is that the athletes participate, especially in the African Championships, because they can still qualify for Rio under the continental bracket,” he said.
Ng’uni said the judokas have improved on the International Judo Federation world rankings.
Chindele has moved from 90 to 77, Punza from 234 to 201 and Munyonga from 154 to 120.
Meanwhile, national team coaches Francis Linosi and Moola Lipimili have been invited to attend a coaching seminar in Japan.
Linosi said in Lusaka on Monday that the seminar will run from January 28 to February 2.
He said the seminar is aimed at assessing the performance of high performing coaches and referees as part of preparations for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

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