As kendo marked 20 years of existence in the country on Sunday, Japanese Deputy Ambassador Shigenobu Kobayashi pledged more material support for the development of the martial arts sport in the country.
During celebrations marking the anniversary at the Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC), Kobayashi said they will bring into the country kendo equipment to help the Kendo Association of Malawi (KAM) to revamp training centres for athletes in Lilongwe and Zomba and also establish a centre in Mzuzu.
“We are, therefore, doing our best to bring in more equipment so that the sport can grow faster in the country,” said Kobayashi.
“Kendo is more than a sport as it is also a tool for cultural exchange for the two countries. However, considering that kendo requires more technical skills to be understood, it has not been easy for most locals to embrace the sport. But little by little, kendo is gaining ground in the country,” he said.
According to KAM president Austin Somba, so far the number of athletes has risen to 35 from 10 in 1992, but they are aiming at attracting more athletes.
The Kendo 20th Anniversary Celebrations, which were also attended by Sports Council executive secretary George Jana, included martial arts exhibition and a contest between Japanese and Malawian athletes.
Kendo, which is a fencing-like sport, means â€˜the way of the swordâ€™. It was founded by Japanese Samurai warriors over 1 000 years ago, but it was established in Malawi in 1992 by a Japanese volunteer who worked at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.