Red dragon roars in Cape Town

Kitso Ramono

Finish 3rd at the Africa Youth Kung-Fu Championships

Botswana’s most distinguished Kung-Fu fighters, Red Dragon Martial Arts Club, finished third at the Africa Youth Kung-Fu Championships in Cape Town, South Africa over the weekend.

Led by Shifu Bethuel ‘Chilito’ Mmoloki, the Francistown-based Red Dragons sent a team of nine athletes to the six-nation tournament, which featured action in two categories: Chinese Kick Boxing and Taolu (Kung-Fu kata).

Although they failed to land a single Gold, the squad returned home with eight silvers and four bronzes, with no athlete going medal-less.

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It marks a slight dip in performance for the Dragons, who managed three Gold medals on their way to a 13-medal haul at last year’s inaugural event.

Reflecting on their efforts south of the border, Shifu Mmoloki admitted just getting to the Western Cape was an achievement on its own, considering the club’s lack of financial muscle.

“We attempted to ask for donations for the team’s trip to Cape Town, but it proved nearly impossible because we needed closer to P100, 000 to pay all of our expenses. Companies and individuals were unable to assist us since they were also in financial difficulty,” he explained.

Fortunately, a kung-fu legend, five-time World Martial Arts champion, Muhammad Junaid Chafeker was on hand to help out.

“He knows about our struggle and we had once told him the problems we face as a club. He saw my post and offered to assist us with flight tickets, accommodation and food, of which we are very grateful,” revealed Mmoloki.

The Kung-Fu master says he is pleased with his team’s performance, as this year’s competition was tougher than the 2023 edition.

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“Fatigue and unfamiliar conditions contributed to some extent of our results. We arrived in Cape Town the night before the tournament which meant we had no time to train and ease jet lag, or even get to adapt to the weather condition which was extremely cold,” he said.

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