Judo championships held in Bfn

Credit: Pierce van Heerden

Hundreds of young people from across the country and continent gathered to participate in the South African Judo Championships at the University of the Free State’s Callie Human Hall in  Bloemfontein.

The marketing director of Judo South Africa, Rob Jordaan, said, “This is our organization’s flagship championship. The championship takes place at the same time every year. We have it for the whole week and accommodate people of all ages as well as visually impaired learners.”

Jordaan explained that the championship consists of about six groups, which range from 9 years old to 65 years old.

Judo coach from the Nelson Mandela Bay district, Archibald Mpongshe, said the weather in Bloemfontein was better than he had expected. He said the championship provided his students with a valuable opportunity to participate at a national level with other teams around the country.

Onlooker Kevin Wilson, one of the audience members, said he was pleased to watch young children practice the values judo has instilled in them. “The sport is about friendship. While it may be a fighting sport, if you watch carefully, it teaches children that you may fight an opponent, as it is a sport, but outside of the game you must be buddies with your opponent.“ Wilson added contrary to popular belief, sports like judo and other forms of martial arts do not promote fighting but rather instill discipline and confidence, which is likely to trickle into other parts of the children’s lives as they grow older.

“Children who play these sports are generally well behaved. You’d expect them to start fights and what not, but they don’t, because of the martial arts codes and values of peace and controlling temperaments. I especially love what being a part of the sport does for their confidence in cases where a smaller learner takes down a bigger learner. It teaches them that with preparation and hard work anything is possible, which is a lesson they can apply anywhere,” Wilson said.

The championships started on Sunday 2 July and will end on Saturday 8 July 2017. Members of the public are encouraged to watch the championships at the Callie Human Hall at the University of the Free State. Admission for adults is R35 while for children it is R20.

Pulane Choane- Bloemfontein Courant.