Ateam of junior Judo athletes dominated the South African Open International competition held in Johannesburg recently. The competition, which was held at Carnival City, saw seven local Judokas taking winning a total of 15 medals for Botswana. The talented team, which comprised judokas between the ages of 7 and 12 years, scooped 9 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 2 bronze medals.
Speaking during an interview this week, Judo team manager, Frida Brahmbhatt Deurwaarder said they ensured that they selected a team of enthusiastic, capable and promising judokas from all Botswana Judo Federation (BJF) affiliated clubs. “We have selected the best team to compete at the international stage and indeed the team proved to be dominant,” she said.
According to Deurwaarder, the trip to South Africa was funded by the parents of the athletes competing. “We did not have any funds for the trip. However, we thank the parents of these athletes for contributing their money so that the young judokas participate at an international stage,” she said. Deurwaarder explained that the BJF could not fund the trip since they recently took another team of judokas to the Africa Commonwealth games.
Moreover, Deurwaarder said some of the athletes could not join the team as their passports had expired. “We could have taken a lot more athletes to the competition.” Deurwaarder said the tournament was crucial in giving athletes international exposure at an early age. With the recent ground breaking of a Judo Dojo, we expect the local team to remain consistent for decades to come.
The junior team coached by Sensei Willie Paulsen is expected to take part in other up coming international tournaments including the South African School championships. Deurwaarder said after this stellar performance, they expected the team to attract sponsorship.