Out to Africa and into Portsmouth club

Abdi Dima, centre, with members of Portsmouth Karate Club
Abdi Dima, centre, with members of Portsmouth Karate Club
Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler

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A young karate student has travelled more than 4,000 miles from a slum town in Kenya to train with some of the south coast’s finest at Portsmouth Karate Club.

Abdi Dima, 18, lives in Korogocho, one of the largest slums in Nairobi, housing an estimated 200,000 people in an area of less than a square mile.

Dima took up karate at the age of nine at the St John’s Sports Society – a facility in Korogocho funded by the British aid charity, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).

The teenager joined Portsmouth’s weekly advanced session with the club’s top black belts, who included former Shotokan Karate-Do United Nations world open weight kumite champion Dave Galloway.

Dima was visiting England as the guest of CAFOD to thank schools and youth groups in Portsmouth and other cities who have raised money for the St John’s Sports Society.

In this Olympic year, he is also helping to spread CAFOD’s message that sport can play a pivotal role in ending conflict and building stronger communities.

Leading the Portsmouth session was eighth dan chief instructor and veteran of the British karate movement, sensei Mick Dewey, and Stacy Crowe, former champion and kata coach to the SEKU team.

Dewey said: ‘We are always very happy to welcome special guests into the club to train with us.

‘It’s a good reminder for us all of the bigger community that we are part of, with Shotokan as our international language.

‘I’ve heard a bit about Abdi’s life growing up in the slums and I can only imagine what it must be like in that environment.

‘It’s all credit to him for remaining focused, working through his grades, achieving his first dan and now to be selected for the Kenyan national team.

‘He should be very proud.’

On his visit to Britain, Dima said: ‘This is the first time I have left Kenya and I have experienced so many new things and made so many new friends.

‘It has been a special experience for me to come and train here with sensei Dewey and everyone at the Portsmouth Karate Club.

‘I will never forget it and I know I will always think of my time here when I am back in our gymnasium in Korogocho.’