Bloemfontein karateka excel in Germany

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RUFUS BOTHA 

Three top-class karateka from Bloemfontein, Kobose Pelebe, Adam-John Boshoff and Elsabé le Roux, who are on the karate High Performance Centre (HPC) programme at the Free State Sports Science Institute (FSSSI), excelled at the Banzai Cup Open which was staged in Berlin, Germany, two weeks ago. 

More than 1500 karateka from 13 countries clashed at this international karate championship and these numbers make the Banzai Cup Open the largest karate championship in Germany. 

Pelebe, Boshoff and Le Roux, who were accompanied by the Free State Karate Association's head coach, Ian (Spook) le Roux, and Dolf Schutte, president of the Free State Karate Association, managed to bring back four medals to the City of Roses. 

Pelebe won gold in the senior men under 60kg Kumite discipline and added silver in the under 21 age group, also in the same weight division and discipline. 

Boshoff was at his best in the under 21 age group in the plus 84kg weight division, stepping onto the highest spot of the podium after clinching the Kumite discipline. 

Pelebe and Boshoff both scored the distinction of being selected for the South African team to fight it out at the WKF World Junior Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 12 to 15 November. 

In Berlin, Le Roux (Elsabé) joined the senior female team of the hosts (Banzai Karate, Berlin) and played a decisive role in the team's efforts to win the bronze medal in the senior female team Kumite division.

Three Turkish international coaches, Haldun Alagas, Sait Ucan and Bahattin Kandaz, who have been involved with the Free State Karate Association and the FSSSI HPC karate programme for several years, fine-tuned the Bloemfontein fighters two days before the Banzai Cup and was there to advise Pelebe, Boshoff and Le Roux during encounters. 

Le Roux (coach) told Courant: "I am of the opinion that this was an extremely successful tournament (Banzai Cup) for various reasons. The unique management and rules of the event allowed for our athletes to participate in several divisions, which gave them international exposure. This is extremely valuable for South African karateka who are unable to attend international events as often as their European counterparts." 

He added: "The tournament was also a great preparation for Kobose (Pelebe) and Adam-John (Boshoff) for the junior world champs in Indonesia."