The reigning Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year Sensei/Shidoshi Wilfred Mashaya was honoured in London at the weekend as he was inducted into the 14th edition of London International Hall of Fame.
His recognition follows many of his achievements and contributions in the world of Martial Arts.
In 2018 Sensei Mashaya conquered the world by becoming the first African Kobudo World Champion and by the same token was the first African inducted into the Barcelona Hall of Honours.
Popularly known as Zim Ninja after becoming the first internationally certified ninja in Zimbabwe, Shidoshi Mashaya has broke another record by becoming also the first son from Zimbabwean soil to be inducted into the London International Hall of Fame.
This is Europe’s oldest and longest running Hall Of Fame.
The Zimbabwe weapon expert was awarded with the Master Award Certificate and nice trophy.
Recently on 25 May in Windhoek Namibia, he was crowned the Regional Sportsman of the Year under Regional Annual Sports Awards (RASA).
In previous years, the RASA nominees from Zimbabwe were the karate champion Shihan Samson Muripo and boxing champion Charles Manyuchi, who represented the country in different years in the sportsman of the year category but unfortunately both couldn’t scoop the regional award as it was being won by South Africans who dominated for the past three years in that category.
It was time to end the South Africans continuous winning streak as Shidoshi Mashaya rose to defy all odds by becoming the first Zimbabwean to win it since its inception.
RASA under region 5 started in 2016.
Sensei Mashaya managed to be judged the best ahead of nominees from other eight Southern African countries namely South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Lesotho, Zambia and the hosts Namibia.
His contenders in the top three whom he managed to beat were Isaac Makwala (athletics) from Botswana and Chad Le Clos (swimming) from South Africa who came second and third respectively.
Scoring a double in one day, Portugal honoured him with a special award as he was inducted into the Lisbon Hall Of Fame in absentia since the same night, he was in Windhoek Namibia attending the RASA.
Mashaya’s hardwork , commitment and passion for martial arts seems to be paying off and bearing fruits as he is being honoured around the globe by masters and grandmasters of martial arts who are impressed by his achievements and contributions towards the sport.
Lack of financial support could be the major setback for this Zimbabwean unsung hero though he is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievers of our time.
It was unfortunate that Sensei Mashaya was honoured in absentia in London as he could not travel to receive the honours due to lack of sponsorship.
It is against this major setback of funding deficit that is dragging back the Mufakose bred martial artist to utilise his full potential around the globe.
Other martial artists, sportspersons and achievers who were honoured were from countries such as Belgium, Poland, Germany, Italy, China, United States of America and Spain among others.
Though with limited resources, Shidoshi Mashaya has proved to be one of the country’s sports ambassadors as he is putting the country on the map through his talent as his achievements so far have received recognition and honours from countries such as Spain, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, Bosnia and Herzegovina among others.
Shidoshi Mashaya is a holder of 4 black belts in kyokushin karate, ninjutsu, kobudo and self defense.
He pioneered three martial arts sporting disciplines in Zimbabwe namely ninjutsu, nunchaku-do and kobudo which is a Japanese type of martial arts that specialises in the use of weapons such as the swords, chuckle sticks, sai, tonfa and many others.
Besides such achievements, it’s sad that he has failed to represent the nation in many International tournaments and assignments this year due to the reasons already alluded to above.
In his many media Interviews, the Zim Ninja always believes that he is a man on a mission born to bring glory and pride to his nation through his God given talents and through sport.
After that being said and done, this can only be achievable if he is given enough moral and financial support from the government, corporate world and fellow Zimbabweans.
His journey on the world stage began in 2016 in Moscow, Russia where he won a silver and a bronze medal at an international kobudo martial arts tournament and from there his star continued to rise and it’s still shining up to this day.
On the first of March 2018, Shidoshi Mashaya was crowned Zimbabwe Sportsman and Sportsperson of the Year and was handed over the winning trophy by Honourable Minister of Youth, Arts, Sport and Recreation, Dr Kirsty Coventry at the prestigious ANSA awards ceremony held at the Rainbow Towers which was organised by Sports and Recreation Commission.
Sensei Mashaya seems to be following the footsteps of Dr Coventry whom he also draws inspiration from her great achievements that she acquired and won for the nation during her time.
The Zim Ninja has joined the Hollywood stars, the great pioneers of martial arts styles, masters and grandmasters who have been inducted into this prestigious Hall of Fame.
Zimbabwe is now known in 7 European countries Hall of Fames through his name which is no mean achievement.
Inspired by his humbleness, high level of discipline, hard work, dedication and above all his great achievements around the world, two local upcoming musicians Munya (Blasta) Mutopo and Tinashe (DJ Fox) Gota dedicated a song each as a way of appreciating and inspiring one of our own to continue with the good work around the globe.