Komani-based judoka ups her game

DOMO ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU: Anje Strydom and her dog taking a photo for the International Judo Federation White Card campaign. This year Strydom qualified for a shodan, the first level black belt in judo Picture: NTSIKELELO QOYO

Komani Judoka, Anje Strydom,17, is still upping her game following last year’s success at the Commonwealth judo championships.

At the championships in Birmingham, England, the Girls’ High School pupil ended an impressive 5th in overall rankings in her division, 70 to 100kg, having been notched up from her weight category of 63-70kg.

The Komani-based sensei recently attained a shodan, a black belt attained after taking a Kata (type of judo fighting), a written test, and a practical application test. She is running the Kazok Dojo, now being a Judo South Africa (JSA) registered coach.

In January, Strydom was in Uitenhage participating at the national trials for the first national ranking event where she took first place. Following on that success she brought home another gold gong from the second national ranking event which was held in Johannesburg in February.

While making the best of the lockdown, trying to keep fit through speed training and working on her technique with her sister, a fellow judoka, Strydom said the shutdown had affected her 2020 plans.

“I am getting biweekly training on technique via online sessions with Sensei Gerald Vena, a judo South Africa director of referees. I am also in regular contact with my personal trainer who also provides online support.

“The Commonwealth championships were due in September, but they have unfortunately been cancelled. It is a big disappointment as I hoped to better my 2019 results,” she said.

“Kazok Dojo is a JSA registered club with 18 registered members. There are more members who do recreational training. Unfortunately the pandemic has put a halt to training and competing. Most of the judoka competed at the San Chi Open in East London at the beginning of March and all of them returned with medals.

“All of them intended to participate in as many national competitions as possible to increase their rankings in order to be selected for the national trials and compete in international competitions. The Commonwealth championships would have afforded us an excellent opportunity as they were to be held in SA, making it cheaper to attend. We often cover our own expenses.

“The economic situation will possibly last for the next few years and that will affect our efforts to get sponsorship for our judoka to attend competitions – we have talented youngsters but there is no money!

“The dojo has submitted a plan to JSA to continue training and we are waiting for the response. We are also currently looking for suitable free premises, as we still hold the classes in an open carport. This makes it difficult to train in poor weather.”

In the meantime, Strydom recently participated in an International Judo Federation #WhiteCard Campaign features with hundreds of other judokas from around the world. The white card is a digital campaign for inclusion, equity and peace.

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