Kachin IDP Kids Going to Japan for Karate Contest

Seng Nu at Singapore on September, 2018

The four young athletes, who emerged victorious in Singapore last year, will be facing world-class competition.

A group of Kachin children living as internally displaced persons (IDPs) is heading to Japan next week to take part in the IKO Friendship Tournament, the international Kyokushin Karate competition.

The four children, who recently completed an intensive three-month training program, are due to arrive in Japan next Tuesday ahead of the April 20-21 tournament, which will host athletes from around the world.

They gained a place at this year’s Japan event after emerging victorious at a 10-nation regional contest held in Singapore last September, according to Bwilap Ying Bawm, the chief coach of the Zai Wunpawng Kyokushin Karate Club.

“It is very difficult to get into this competition. They will be competing at a very high level,” Bwilap Ying Bawm told KNG. “Our four children were able to get in because they were the champions in Singapore. And that’s why the chairperson of the karate association in Burma is helping them to get to Japan.”

According to Bwilap Ying Bawm, there is a lack of government support for kyokushin karate in Burma, so the Zai Wunpawng club has had to find its own means to continue operating.

The four athletes who will be going to Japan are Shy. Seng Nu, 16, from the Shweset IDP camp; Shd. Ja La, 16, from the Du Kahtawng IDP camp; and Shy. San Mai Nu, 7, and Shd. Labang Seng Lat Awng, 7, both from the Tatkone Ward in Myitkyina.

More than a thousand world-class competitors will take part in next week’s contest, hailing from Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia.