These Cape Flats karate kids have fought their way to gold at an international tournament in Germany.
The team of seven young fighters from the Samurai Karate Matroosberg in Belhar left South Africa on July 15 to compete in the Kimura Shukokai World Championship.
The karate stars managed to secure three gold and one silver medal, which they proudly showed off when they landed at Cape Town International Airport on Monday.
Edwina Boonzaaier, 15, from Symphony High School, won gold in Youth Unison Kata and silver for Kumite.
She says: “It was very exciting, I was nervous but not scared.”
In total, 25 countries competed at the tournament, but the young Cape Flats stars say they weren’t worried about beating the competition at all.
Micheala Fourie, 16, from Belhar bagged gold in the youth kata and says she worked very hard before jetting off to Berlin.
“The winter holidays we trained every day, it wasn’t even like a holiday for us. We had training camps we had to attend,” says Micheala.
It was their first trip overseas, and gold medallist in the Boys Junior Kumite Lightweight division, Eyethu Mgada, 13, from Parow says it was strange to see how other cultures live.
“People are different and over there, you must watch where you walk because people are all on bicycles and if you cross the road at the wrong place you can get a fine,” Eyethu explains.
The kids battled all the odds to achieve excellence and have a unique leadership team backing them, a pastor and a sheikh.
Pastor David Windvogel travelled with the team to Germany, while Sheikh Kashief Damon watched the action on YouTube .
They did a massive fundraising drive to pay for the kids’ travelling expense and Pastor David says: “We still need about R30 000 to pay the travel agent, but they’ve agreed we can pay it in installments.”
These holy men have proven – from the dusty classroom at Matroosberg Primary that they have converted into a dojo – that these kids are world-class fighters.
The pastor adds: “I mean we still have the cement floor, we don’t have expensive mats and we have no mirrors, so it’s all done from humble beginnings.”