Montjane aims to ace it at Tokyo Games
KGOTHATSO Montjane believes it is about time she secured a Paralympics medal after three attempts yielded no success.
“I’ve got to get podium,” South Africa’s wheelchair tennis superstar said yesterday at the Olympic House in Houghton where several paralympians gathered at the Sascoc head office as the governing body marked the occasion of six months to go to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
While Sascoc acting president Barry Hendriks said they will not be setting any medals target for the 51-member Team South Africa, the athletes will go to Japan nursing lofty ambitions.
Montjane knows what success on a big stage is having won numerous titles – among them Belgian Open and Swiss Open – as well as having been to quarter-finals and semi-finals of Grand Slams. She now would like to be victorious while representing her country.
“Having played at the last three Paralympics, obviously the experience is there. I just need to go there and put it to good use so I can finally get on the podium. For me, the Paralympics are just like another tournament although what makes it special is that, unlike at the Grand Slams, I will be officially representing the country.”
Having played against top players at the Slams, she knows the Paralympics will be different in that there will be ‘ordinary players’ in the competition.
“Of course I am hoping the Grand Slam experience of competing against the top eight players in the world will come in handy.”
Montjane has to be in the top 22 in the world by the end of June to qualify for Tokyo.
“I should be fine for qualification. I just need to keep playing in the tournaments and do well,” said the player who is ranked seventh.
She will play two tournaments in the US next month and then in France in June where she will also compete at Roland Garros.
According to Sascoc, Team SA will be made up of 51 athletes who will compete in 11 of the 22 sports at the Games. So far four swimmers and 10 athletes have already qualified while the wheelchair basketball qualification tournament is taking place this weekend in Johannesburg.