Judo Sport

Visa hitch knocks out Munyonga, Punza

KASAMBA BUUMBA, Lusaka
ZAMBIAN judokas Boas Munyonga and Mathews Punza will miss the European Open Championship after the Czech Republic could not grant them visas.
The tournament is billed for February 27.
Munyonga competes in the 81kg category while Punza features in the 66kg category and the tournament in the Czech Republic is a qualifier for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Munyonga and Punza are currently in Morocco preparing for the African Open Championship set for March 12 to 13.
Zambia Judo Association (ZJA) secretary Mabvuto Ng’uni said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the Czech Republic embassy did not give reasons for the decision.
“It is a sad development because the judokas would have earned some points had they travelled to Czech. As of now their opponents are going to accumulate points which will give them an advantage.
“We are, however, confident that the boys can still make it [for the Olympic Games] despite the inconvenience. They still have a good number of tournaments to participate in,” Ng’uni said.
And ZJA president Alfred Foloko is equally confident the judokas will put up good fights in Morocco and gain points.
“I know the judokas are training hard and I have no doubt that they will perform very well. Even Abigail, who is still in Zambia, is doing well.
“Abigail (Chindele) participated in the National Judo League last weekend and won. This is an indicator that she is ready,” Foloko said.
Abigail (48kg) will join the team on March 9 ahead of the Africa Open Championship.

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