Two Bloemfontein teenagers from the David Abdelmalak Sport School took part in the KwaZulu-Natal Durban Open that was held last month where they made their mark by winning first and second place in the national competition.
The 17-year-old Alida van der Merwe from Eunice, who won gold in the U17 cadet category as well as bronze in the U20 junior category, said she was satisfied with her achievements, especially after all the preparation she had put into the competition. “I am excited to see what I’m capable to do at the next competition. The part I enjoyed most about the past competition, was correcting all the mistakes I had from the past. This feeling was great for me.”
Moné de Jager from Sentraal, who won a silver medal in senior level, told Bloemfontein Courant that this achievement has made her very proud as she, together with her coach, has been working very hard. “I am so grateful for being blessed with this great achievement and I hope for more in the future. The highlight of the competition for me was when I won the semi-finals against one of my rivals whom I have not beaten before, and my coach and I could celebrate the victory,” she said.
According to David Abdelmalak, head coach for Modern Pentathlon at the SA Modern Pentathlon Association (Sampa) and a private fencing coach, children should try new sports as well as fencing, which is like chess with movement. “Fencing improves a lot of things in any player, like focusing, reaction and tactics,” Abdelmalak said.
“I’m so happy for my team about the results for this competition. We are looking forward to the international ones as Moné has ranked second in the junior category and Alida first in the cadet category,” he added.
According to Abdelmalak the medals will help them to continue leading the South African rankings as well as getting country colours in sport. Some of his students were awarded scholarships from the university because of their fencing careers and their academic performance.
PIERCE VAN HEERDEN