Malawi’s only heavyweight professional taekwondo athlete, Yamikani Guba — who earned 10 medals last year alone — has rolled out 2023 in grand style by winning the gold at the Ultimate Taekwondo Championships held at Metrodome Leisure Centre in Barnsley on Sunday, January 22.
He ended the 2022 season with a silver medal during the LMC Taekwondo Championships held at Places Eastleigh Leisure Centre in Southampton in December.
Guba — a Sergeant in the British military under the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery — attained 5 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze just last year alone and he says he is looking forward to the busy first quarter of 2023 schedule.
The championships of the quarter of 2023 are the Scottish Taekwondo Open; Midlands Open; Dutch Open (G1 comp); Army Open and the European Masters in Finland (G1 Comp).
“I feel great starting the year with a big win,” 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.
“As this was the first competition of the year, this gave me morale in preparation to the busy schedule of the first quarter of the 2023.
“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.
Originally from Blantyre District, he also holds a 2nd Dan in both Judo and Karate and a 1st Dan in Kendo.
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.