Dar es Salaam. Eight-year-old Navraj Singh Mair has broken a tae kwon do record at his tender age, receiving the Red Belt - the first in East Africa.
Navraj, who trains with the Dar Taekwon-Do Club, a member of the Tanzania Taekwon-Do Association (TTA), was honored on Sunday in a special occasion held in Dar es Salaam.
Speaking to The Citizen, the TTA President, Saidi Kennedy, said Navraj is now allowed to focus on the Black Belt to ramp up his status in the sport.
Kennedy said Navraj is able to compete in the East Africa Tae Kwon Do championships and other international competitions scheduled to take place next year.
According to him, all international tae kwon do competitions have been suspended on account of the corona virus pandemic. However, he revealed that it takes not less than four years of hard training to reach the stage reached by Navraj.
“We are certainly impressed by the stage that Navraj has attained. This is phenomenal in his category. We call upon parents to allow their children to feature in the game as it improves their mental health.
“It is not easy job to reach that stage so early in life. But Navraj did it due to his unmatched efforts and support from his parents.
“If he maintains his performance, could very soon break another record,” said Kennedy.
For his part, Navraj said he is very happy to have broken a record in the game and he is now focusing on the Black Belt.
“I love the game, and I want to represent my country in international competitions - and win top honors,” he said.
Saying he wants to promote Tanzanian tae kwon do beyond the country’s borders, Navraj attributed his record-breaking feat to sheer hard work. “I will make sure that I break another record on my way to the Black Belt stage. I call on other children to start practicing the game which is very important in life,” he said.
Navraj’s mother, Honey Singh Mair, said “I am thrilled by my son Navraj for becoming the youngest (tae kwon do) Red Belt holder - and wish him luck for the Black Belt.
She also called upon more Tanzanians, children and adults alike - including women - to take up the sport in earnest.