It never gets better to Malawi’s only heavyweight professional taekwondo athlete, Yamikani Guba, who has just been selected to undergo his 5th full-time training programme at Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK under the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS).
The 40-year-old, who holds a 2nd Dan in both Judo and Karate and a 1st Dan in Kendo, has been attending this auspicious programme for 4 consecutive years since 2019 and before then he was on BAE system scholarship for 3 years.
“I am very privileged to be selected for another year of the Army Elite Sport and Talented Athlete Scholarship programme,” he said in an interview. “It’s benefits are many as athletes on TASS have access to personal strength and conditioning (S&C), physiotherapy, dietitian, lifestyle and sports psychology coaching.
“In additional to that is the normal specific sport discipline — Taekwondo technical training alongside selected England Sport athletes.
“This programme has led me to more success in sports proven by all the medals, awards recognition within the UK and the UK Armed Forces even abroad which includes my home country Malawi.
“I am proud to have represented the British Army, the UK Armed Forces teams abroad as well as Malawi and my intention is to bring medals for my beloved country.”
On July 30, Guba — a Sergeant in the British military — added his 11th medal just this year alone of 4 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze when he won bronze medal in seniors +80kg category at the Scorpion Open Championships.
It was held at the Barnsley Metrodome Leisure Centre, representing the Army Taekwondo WT Team of the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery ‘The Fighting Fourth’ and Guba is now looking forward to the British Taekwondo National Championships representing the UK Armed Forces Taekwondo (WT)Team at the English Institute of Sports, Sheffield.
Earlier last month, Guba won first silver on Day 1 at Tampere Exhibition Center competing in World Taekwondo Individual Poomsae U45AClass in which he lost in the final against Master Meysam Habibiher from Team Iran.
On Day 2, he won silver medal in +87kg category fighting Kyorugi against a German in the final while another silver and bronze medals were attained in June at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Digby, Lincoln in England, where he was also presented with the UK Armed Forces colours by chairman of the Army Martial Arts Association at RAF Cranwell.
This is in recognition of the Malawian’s achievements over the past few years representing the Army Taekwondo WT Team with 10 medals in 2022 alone — 5 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze.
The first gold medal of 2023 was attained at the Ultimate Taekwondo Championships in January; followed by a further 2 gold and a silver medal at the Army Open Championships held at the Army Combat Centre in Aldershort and the 4th gold at Midlands Open Taekwondo Championships held at Sports and Wellness Hub, Coventry University.
The phenomenon athlete learnt his Martial Arts at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) at the age of 10 at the inspiration of his family members and he later relocated to UK in 2004 to study the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM-postgraduate).
He went on to join the British Army in 2007 where he was 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.