Madibaz black belt to make his bow at Karate World Open

NOVEMBER 18, 2015

An Eastern Cape martial artist will finally get the chance to showcase his talents at an international level when he travels to Japan later this week for the Karate World Open.

NMMU student Lwazi Finca, 27, was meant to attend the global tournament when he was competing at under-16 level but had to withdraw due to lack of funding. But now, 11 years later, he will get the opportunity he has been dreaming of.

"I am very excited for the opportunity. I will get the chance to test myself against some of the best in the world and I cannot wait," said the operations management student.

Finca, originally from Butterworth, fell in love with karate after seeing his uncle train and compete. At a very young age he convinced his mother to let him pursue his dream and moved to East London to live and train with his uncle.

When he was 15 his family moved to Port Elizabeth where he continued his training.

In 2007 he enrolled at NMMU to study electrical engineering and joined the university's karate club. Within a year he had become the Madibaz karate club's senior instructor and chairperson, and under his leadership the club has won the University Sport South Africa (USSA) championships for six consecutive years.

Now the third Dan black belt will take his skills to Tokyo, to one of the biggest sporting events in Japan, taking place between November 20 and 22.

"Imagine what the 2010 Soccer World Cup was like for South Africa. That is how big the Karate World Open is in Japan," he said laughing.

Finca will not only be representing NMMU, the Eastern Cape and South Africa, but the whole continent.

He is one of 16 Africans among the 192 participating practitioners from across the globe.

There is however not a nervous hair on the student athlete's head as he prepares to make his dream a reality. Finca is confident in his skills and goes into the competition as a serious competitor.

"We already have the schedule. My first fight is against the 2013 Japanese champion and I look forward to testing myself against him and any other competitors in the tournament."

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Image: Madibaz karateka Lwazi Finca, who is a third Dan black belt, will represent South Africa at the Karate World Open in Japan from November 20. Photo: Supplied