UK-based Malawian taekwondo athlete wins gold medal in Ultimate Open Championships

Malawian Taekwondo athlete, Sergeant Yamikani Guba — who is with the British military — has won gold medal at the Ultimate Open Championships held on Sunday, October 17 at the Metrodome Leisure centre in Barnsley.

This was the first championship in over 18 months that were suspended due to CoVID-19 and Guba represented the British Army Taekwondo team in the heavyweight category of A+80kgs (advanced Dan grades).

Guba with his trophy

The championship was open to all World Taekwondo grades and ages and Guba — a 5th Dan Black Belt in World Taekwondo — fought against Winston John from Chung-Yong Taekwondo Academy

After round 1, the soldier from 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, was leading 11-2 on points and he ended the fight in round 2 to win by knock out.

“These regional and national competitions are the build-up and preparedness of big events scheduled ahead,” Guba said.

Watches as opponent is checked by medics

“I am now looking forward to the next competition — the North East Open Championships on October 24and the British National Taekwondo Championships on November 7 to be held in London at the Olympic Park.”

Sgt. Guba, who is captain for the British Army Taekwondo team since 2010, is also selected to represent the team at the World Masters’ Games 22 in Tokyo.

In June, Guba successfully passed the World Taekwondo Kukkiwon 5th Degree/Dan Black Belt during grading that was held in Aldershot at the Combat Sports Centre which was conducted by a panel of highly graded Masters that included head coach and director of Wessex Taekwondo senior Master John Harrison.

Guba won his last title in March 2020 just before the CoVID-19 lockdown — a silver medal attained at the Yorkshire Open Championships held in Halifax, UK.

A week before the Yorkshire Open Championships, he won two gold and two silver medals — 1 in Kendo and another in Taekwondo — during the British Army Martial Arts Open Championships.

He accumulated six medals last year alone and altogether, he has now 246 accolades as his trophy trove that include medals, awards, trophies and recognitions in martial arts in general both at international and British national competitions.

Guba, who says he looks forward to promoting Taekwondo back in Malawi, 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.

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) before joining 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 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.

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