NAIROBI, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Karate has for long been underrated among the national sports in Kenya where the game's players have had limited exposure over the years.
However, a player with the national women's team is on a mission to change the storyline during the 12th African Games set to run from Aug.19 to Aug.31 in Rabat, Morocco where she believes she has the capacity to upset the apple-cart at the continental event.
Kenya will field six men and four women karatekas to battle for its spot in the martial arts against strong challenge from giants Algeria, Egypt, Congo, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa who topped the medal standings in Congo Brazzaville four years ago.
"My focus now is on bringing Kenya a medal after which I will have be accomplished my mission in karate. I have worked so hard and so long to represent the country and I will ensure I fight to the end," Stella Kasimili told Xinhua.
Kasimili is one of the women exponents who were graded during the international grading of black belt 'Shodan' (first degree) competition in July in Nairobi that was supervised by Peter Brandon, president of Goju Kai Karate in Africa.
"I am delighted with my new black belt grading, which made me one of the few women to hold the highest ranking in karate in Kenya," Kasimili, 32, who is a corporal with Kenya's correctional service, said.
Karate has limited entries to African Games because the Kenyan team previously performed dismally, a state-of-affair that karate coach John Owiti want to change to prove critics wrong.
"Our target is to secure the first gold medal for Kenya from karate. There is a lot of potential in the country and what has been lacking is the international exposure and competition," he said.
For all their efforts, Kenya has only one bronze medal to show from the Maputo 2011 African Games.