Top talent show their fight spirit

The East London Academy of Judo hosted the inaugural Henny Boel Open at Selborne Primary this past weekend.

HOLDING THE FORT: East London Academy of Judo’s Gerald Sihlangu, left, in action against University of Fort Hare’s Ntandazo Monki during the Henny Boel Open held at Selborne Primary on Saturday Picture: SUPPLIED

Around 100 judokas took part in the fun and competitive Saturday morning event. The contestants came from three East London judo schools, namely Sanchi, Kazok and the hosts, as well as representations from Fort Hare, Alice and Queenstown.

“It was a day full of high-class judo beginning with the young ones to the seniors and it was amazing to see just how much talent there is in Border,” said Boel.

“We really feel very encouraged with the growth we have seen recently and hope to gain more momentum in the near future.”

On the day the star judoka was Yandisa Maquanda from the East London Academy of Judo who picked up the gold in the senior division and was awarded the best male Judoka of the Day Trophy for his superb performance in the competition.

“Yandisa had an outstanding day, he is one of the most promising judokas on the Border and could become one of the best in the future, and he was definitely the best on Saturday,” admitted Boel.

A host of medals were awarded to winners in various divisions and weight categories.

“We had different age and weight groups and many of the judokas walked away with at least a medal,” said Boel. “It is really encouraging to see the talent we have here and it bodes well for the future of the sport in East London.”

Boel is yet to make up a decision if he will host the Henny Boel Open again.

“I am going to have to think about it, I am really humbled that they asked me to host it in recognition of my 25 years of judo on the Border, but I am not sure if I will host this tournament again,” said Boel.

“I just want to say thank you to all who participated , and all who helped and most of all thank you to our sponsors.”

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