Judo squad de­parts for SA tour­ney

Observer on Saturday - - Sport - By Jongile Xuba

JUDO - The Swazi­land Judo Fed­er­a­tion (SJF) team to rep­re­sent the coun­try in the Nel­spruit Open have their sights firmly set on bring­ing home gold medals.

The team left the coun­try yes­ter­day for the com­pe­ti­tion af­ter re­ceiv­ing an in­vi­ta­tion from the Mpumalanga Judo As­so­ci­a­tion.

In­ter­viewed dur­ing their farewell func­tion held at the Theatre Club yes­ter­day, the ath­letes said they were look­ing for­ward to the com­pe­ti­tion.

Siob­han Ester­huy­sen, who will be com­pet­ing in the un­der-52 kg cat­e­gory, said he was not only look­ing at get­ting just a medal but was gun­ning for gold. “I’m very ex­cited for such an op­por­tu­nity to com­pete in this com­pe­ti­tion. The medals will be just a bonus but I am aim­ing for gold,” said Ester­huy­sen.

Mean­while 14-year-old Wez­izwe Hard­ing said he was ready to bounce back from his last out­ing.

“I lost in my last tour­na­ment af­ter win­ning in the one be­fore that. So this time I’m not tak­ing chances I want gold,” said Hard­ing. La­mulela Ma­gag­ula who com­petes in the un­der-63kg said she was calm and fo­cused.

“I feel very much confident and calm as this is not my first tour­na­ment. I’m pretty confident head­ing into the com­pe­ti­tion,” said Ma­gag­ula.

Young Zuzithande Maseko who is in the un­der-44kg said she was ner­vous about her first com­pe­ti­tion. “I re­ally don’t have a goal for the com­pe­ti­tion as this is my first tour­na­ment, I’m just happy to be com­pet­ing,” said Maseko.

Mean­while, Swazi­land Judo Fed­er­a­tion (SJF) Pres­i­dent Princess Thobile said she was an­tic­i­pat­ing a good per­for­mance from the squad as they had thor­oughly pre­pared.

“The last tour­na­ment the team at­tended saw ev­ery­one be­sides three play­ers get medals. This time around I am confident that the whole team will come back with medals,” said the pres­i­dent. She also went on to say that the team had grown stronger. “I have seen some of our play­ers grow over the years in the sport and I am sure they will de­liver be­cause they are stronger fight­ers now,” said the pres­i­dent.

(Pics: Jongile Xuba)

PROUD: La­mulela with her mother who is SJF Pres­i­dent Princess Thobile.

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