Katelin bags gold at Dutch Open

A champion’s heart

08 July 2020 | Sports

Katelin Martin; Namibia karate athlete; “People think that it was much easier because it was an e-tournament, but it was not.”

Walvis Bay· [email protected]

Coastal karateka Katelin Martin (25) who is a member of the Goju-Kai dojo in Walvis Bay, was crowned the Dutch Open champion in the senior women’s kata category.

Her other achievements at the e-tournament include two silver medals and a bronze medal.

Following her competing in the e-tournament, she was quick to correct naysayers who suggested that the level of competition was not as competitive.

“People think it was much easier. I can guarantee that this is not the case. On the contrary, it was extremely difficult. The advantage we had was we could take videos of a kata as many times as we wanted to. We could retake until we thought it was perfect.”

She said that when the judges were giving scores for the videos, it became stricter because they could pause and see if the movements were correct and if karateka were executing the techniques correctly.

“The judging was critical, but it was all fun,” said the bubbly athlete.

Katelin was also chosen as one of the athletes to be included in trials for the Olympic Games.

The Games were scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Japan, this year but have been postponed to 2021 due to the outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

More preparation time

According to Katelin, the postponement of the sporting spectacle presented her with more time to prepare. It is her dream to represent Namibia at the prestigious event.

“I dream of competing at the Olympic Games. It will be the first time that karate will feature at the Games and I knew from a young age that this would be the case. I have trained as hard as I can to ensure that I can represent Namibia at the Olympics.”

Katelin is the daughter of former karate world champion and multiple international championship winner, Shihan Leonard Martin.
Her father won numerous accolades in the sport during the peak of his career. The Namibian karate legend has however never competed at the Olympic Games as it was not recognised as an Olympic sport at the time.

Katelin said that taking part at the Olympic Games would be a great opportunity for her to add to the legacy her father has passed on to her.

“Being given the opportunity to reach the Olympics is overwhelming. I have been pushing my body to extremes during training to prepare for it. It has been a bit challenging for me because I had knee surgery last year. I recovered well thanks to the good support system I have and have been training harder than ever,” she explained.

The two dan (second level) black belt said that karate in Namibia can improve even more if the youth is prioritised.
She is of the opinion that everyone should be introduced to various sport codes at a young age so that they can see which sport they like and fit in.

“This will allow them to eventually love the sport until they reach their prime age.”

She added that some athletes who initially show potential, often drop out due to bad influences. “Those that have stuck around, have excelled and have elevated the reputation of Namibia in the sport, especially in the last five years. The potential of the sport is now being recognised.”


Katelin prefers to train students through guidance instead of aspiring to get referee certification, saying this way athletes are taught more.

She urges athletes to stick to their scheduled training routines during the lockdown period so that they can be ready to compete when measures are relaxed.

“Keep faith and stick to your scheduled training as if it were a normal day and as if you are going to take part in a competition tomorrow. When Covid-19 is over, everything will return to normal and competitions will resume.”

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