By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawian Taekwondo athlete, Yamikani Guba — who is with the British military — has won a scholarship from Britain’s Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) to train full time in his specialty sport discipline Taekwondo in the next 12 months.
He is set to be receiving sporting support through recognised sporting institutions across the UK such as the Army Sport Performance Centres and Elite Athletes Performance Centres.
Guba explained that TASS is an initiative that receives support and some funding from Sport England with the mission: ‘A world-leading partnership between education and sport to help talented athletes in England fulfill their potential and balance their sporting development with their education and training’.
“TASS supports athletes who are currently unfunded by UK Sport and who sit somewhere close to the standard required for entry into podium/world class development programmes.
“The Army has established a strong relationship with TASS and selects and funds, through the ASCB, talented Army athletes for placements regionally at universities or in the Aldershot hub to receive TASS support.”
There were 65 applications from 18 separate Army sporting disciplines and unsuccessful candidates were automatically considered for Sports Scholarship Awards (either BAE Scholarships or Army Sports Scholarship Scheme awards).
Guba, a Sergeant in the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and competed in the British Army Taekwondo Club, has also been on athlete scholarship programme — British Aerospace Engineering (BaE) Systems and (Army Sports Control Control Board (ASCB) between 2017-2020.
“My greatest strengths are due to hard working in both training and competitions and winning medals,” Guba said. “I always receive great support from the British Army Taekwondo, British Army Sport and ASCB.
“This full time training concentration will increases the chances of winning more medals in the next 12 months,” he said.
In March this year, Guba managed added another accolade to his awards treasure trove by winning the silver medal at the Yorkshire Open Championships held in Halifax.
A week before the Yorkshire Open Championships, Guba won two gold and two silver medals — 1 in Kendo and another in Taekwondo — during the British Army Martial Arts Open Championships.
He won two gold medals fighting in Taekwondo individuals and a Taekwondo individuals Poomsae (patterns) and the silver in patterns Taekwondo and Kendo individual.
He has now accumulated six medals this year alone. He won his first gold attained in heavyweight category +87kgs last February during the Scotland (Lanarkshire) Open Taekwondo Championships, held at the Wishaw Sports Centre.
Altogether, he has now accumulated 246 accolades that include medals, awards, trophies and recognitions in martial arts in general both at international and British national competitions.
Guba was nominated for Malawi Sport Awards’ Sportsman of the Year alongside men’s footballer Gabadinho Mhango and women footballer Tabitha Chawinga.
He arrived in the country to attend the Red Carpet gala but the award went to Tabitha, who was also voted as Best Overall Sports Personality for her excellent performance at her club in China which made her be nominated for Confederation of African Football (CAF) Player of the Year award.
Guba, represented Malawi Taekwondo team in World Taekwondo Championship held in Manchester May last year and also in the 2016 Rio Olympics qualifications which was held in Agadir, Morocco, had said he is hoping to one day further promote the sport in Malawi.
Originally from Blantyre District, he also holds a 2nd Dan in both Judo and Karate and a 1st Dan in Kendo.
He learnt his Martial Arts at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) at the age of 10 at the inspiration of his family members and later relocated to UK in 2004 to study the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM-postgraduate) and thereafter he decided to join the British Army in 2007.
He joined the British Army Martial Arts team in 2008, competing in both Taekwondo and Kendo at international and national level.
In 2016, the British military awarded Guba with the title of the best senior fighter for its Taekwondo team in which he is the captain.
Based in Larkhill at the Royal School of Artillery as a Phase 2 Instructor, he has achieved many medals over the years on both national and international level of fighting.
In November last year, Guba won the silver medal at the National Taekwondo Club Championship on Sunday in Nottingham just after 11 days of achieving the same feat at the London International Open.
Guba has also be previously honoured by the British military as he was named the third best British Military Sportsperson of the Year achiever.