* 2 gold and a silver won at the Army Open Championships over the weekend
* First gold medal attained at the Ultimate Taekwondo Championships on January 22
* First silver at the 50th Anniversary Dutch Open Taekwondo on March 11
By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawi’s only heavyweight professional taekwondo athlete, Yamikani Guba — who earned 10 medals last year alone — has now attained four medals in the first quarter of 2023 — 3 gold and 2 silver.
The first gold medal was attained at the Ultimate Taekwondo Championships on January 22 while the 2 gold and the silver medals were won at the Army Open Championships held at the Army Combat Centre in Aldershort over the last weekend.
Guba — a Sergeant in the British military under the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery — also won a silver at the 50th Anniversary Dutch Open Taekwondo Championships, held at the Indoor Sportcentrum Eindhoven in the Netherlands on March 11.
He competed in the Master’s division +80kg and lost in the final to Langer Marek from German, which the sensational athlete described as “a very exciting encounter”.
“I am now looking forward to finish busy first quarter of 2023 with the Army Open and the Midland Open Championships, both in March.
“The next international games will be the European Masters in Finland and the British International Open Championships in Manchester — both competitions to be on July 23.
“These winnings give me additional focus for the next games,” said the Malawian from Blantyre District, who represents the British Army Taekwondo team and just last year alone attained 5 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze — ending it with a silver medal at the LMC Taekwondo Championships held at Places Eastleigh Leisure Centre in Southampton in December.
“I feel great, I am in top form,” said the champ, who won silver at British National Championship in September last year, one of the biggest championship in the UK — that pits together both civilian and soldier athletes; whose qualification to the tournament is vigorous.
“My message to the youth practising taekwondo back home is to continue working hard in what they do and stay focused and fit. Choose friends wisely and stay out of troubles,” said the phenomenon athlete, who learnt his Martial Arts at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) at the age of 10 at the inspiration of his family members.
He later relocated to UK in 2004 to study the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM-postgraduate) before joining the British Army in 2007 and went on to be recruited in the British Army Martial Arts team in 2008 — competing in both Taekwondo and Kendo at international and national level.
He is the only highly-graded personnel in UK Armed Forces Taekwondo team and his most recent and notable achievement is his grading to Kukkiwon World Taekwondo 5th Dan/ Degree black belt attained last year.
He is captain for the British Army Taekwondo team since 2010 and he now over 250 accolades on his trophy trove that include medals, awards, trophies and recognitions in martial arts in general both at international and British national competitions.
Guba was nominated for the 2019 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.
He also holds a 2nd Dan in both Judo and Karate and a 1st Dan in Kendo and 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 as a Sergeant, Guba has also been previously honoured by the British military when he was named the third best British Military Sportsperson of the Year achiever.