Saleh urges women to practise karate for self-defence, livelihood
Saleh, also the Vice-Chairperson, Lagos State Karate Association, made the call yesterday in Lagos while speaking on the Sixth Zainab Saleh International Female Open Karate Championship.
The 4th Dan Black Belt Karateka in Nigeria said the event would hold between November 21 and 24, at the Molade Okoya Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
She said women were doing well in various sports across the world, noting that there was a need for greater awareness of karate and encouragement for more women participation in it.
“Whenever there were karate events in Nigeria, it was also noticed that there was always a larger turnout by men. In other words, the male events overshadow the female events.
“The rising cases of rape and domestic violence in our society is yet another determining factor for women participation in the sport.
“Showcasing what a karate practitioner could do through competition, I believe, is a way to encourage women to learn self-defense and thus, protect themselves from violence perpetrated upon them,” she said.
On what informed the all females Karate event, she said the decision was taken when she noticed that female participation in Karate was minimal in Nigeria.
Saleh noted that the technical abilities of Nigerian female athletes could not be compared to their counterparts internationally, adding that all females Karate competition would fill the gap.
Hopefully, I will be having 34 categories of female Karate events in this year’s edition. There is a need for a larger awareness of the event. The event should encourage more women to attend.
“The turnout of participants both in Nigeria and from her neighbouring countries has increased over the last five editions. Last year, we had over 130 athletes that participated.
“With the advent of each edition, the awareness of Karate as a means of self-defense has increased. We hope that this year, more of our West African sisters will attend,” Saleh said.
Saleh, who is also a World Karate Federation (WKF) Judge and African Karate Federation (UFAK) Referee, therefore, called on the women for wider coverage in the sport with more of them enrolling themselves and their children in Karate classes.
She said the just-concluded 12th African Games in Morocco feedback on the performance of karate team with one bronze medal, was an indication of lack of exposure and international competition experience.
“We hope that with the coming of the new Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, other sports will be able to get some attention,” she said.
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