By JACK AMI
THE Oro provincial karate championship which kicked off yesterday at the Higaturu council chamber in Popondetta town has attracted 200 participants.
Organisers say the Under-7 to U12 fights in will be the most exciting throughout the championship.
The Higaturu council chamber is expected to be packed as town residents witness the first day of karate action.
Governor Juffa declared the games open in the presence of provincial administration executives and senior officers.
Oro Karate Association president and sansei Kevin Duna said the highlight of the event would be when five to 11-year-old boys and girls display their skills. “This age category has been popular over the years with kids as young as five years old competing and learning the skills of martial arts with the support of their parents.”
In the female division many surprising packages from Kokoda, Tufi and Isivini will challenge Popondetta Urban fighters for the major honours.
The four corners of Oro in Popondetta Urban, Higaturu, Kokoda, Safia, Afore, Kira and Ioma will be represented in full force to capture the limelight at the event.
These dojos (clubs) are Urban, Igora, Hohorita, Eiwo, Mamba, Hombariri, Ako (Tufi) and Kokoda.
Duna who has been the backbone of karate marketing and development in the province says future PNG stars will come out from this tourney.
“We have big names like Steven Bonga, Basil Oriri, Derrol Reddish who have won medals in the 2014 PNG Games in Lae and the national karate championship in Port Moresby.
Also our only mute fighter Roger Bougajiwai and Roy Ipa will be tough opponents.
“The most exciting in children’s division challenges feature the U7/9 and U12/14 and also the U15/18 who are the future prospects of the province.
“Our adult division from 55/59 kg, 60/65kg, 66/70kg and 70/75kg for both male and female full contact, point contact, kata, kubodo and tameis are predicted to keep the capacity crowd on its toes.
The championship’s major sponsor is Governor Gary Juffa.
Karate has medal prospects for Team Oro at the coming PNG Games.
By JACK AMI