Hero’s welcome for full-contact karate champ after win in Russia
Mthatha airport was abuzz this week when scores of die-hard fans celebrated the return of Anele Madlala after his first successful trip to the World Fighting Kyokushin Organization Grand Prix held in Russia.
The Walter Sisulu University (WSU) physics final year student from Harding in KwaZulu-Natal had to first kick his way up at the national prestigious African leg of the FCKO (full contact Karate organisation) that was held in May in Gauteng. After his spoils at the African leg, he then gained eligibility to participate in the Grand Prix where he again met his Russian opponent Andrei Kizov in the 79-80kg division in front of a partisan home crowd but he still managed to clinch the WFKO title.
Madlala said Kizov gave him a run for his money because he was aggressive but patient at the same time, which meant that he had to be patient himself if he were to manage Kizov.
“To tell you the truth Kizov gave me a hard time during the fight. But because I went there well prepared I managed to absorb the amount of pressure that came with his punches and kicks,” Madlala said.
“It was an intense fight and I had to compose myself and think back to my training journey coming to that moment and in the end, it worked perfectly. But it would not have been possible with my trainers and sponsors.”
Madlala thanked WSU after the higher learning institution covered the traveling costs for his trip to Russia. He said after struggling to secure funds to pay for his flights and visa amongst other things, the institution had supported him fully.
“I struggled with funding and all those travel expenses in this journey but through the support from my close friends, from my karate association, people whom I train with and Senpai Sba and WSU — that's everyone who supported me and encouraged me to train harder,” he said.
Madlala said now after resting for a few days he will commence with his training for Kyoshin world union championships which will be held in Kazakhstan on December 8. But there's still uncertainty whether he'll be able to secure sufficient funds for trip or otherwise.
At a well-attended welcoming ceremony member of Mthatha Oyama Dojo and a friend Sibabalwe Khambile said he always knew Madlala would be a martial arts champion because he was very passionate about the sport.
“Madlala has proved to many other young people like himself that your background does not determine your journey and it creates a huge joy to us people who work closely with him daily,” he said.
“We just hope that will get a sponsor and other forms assistance to make the Kazakhstan trip.”