Mon­t­jane aims to ace it at Tokyo Games

Pretoria News - - SPORT - MATSHELANE MAM­ABOLO

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.

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