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Judoka fight it out for Commonwealth places

By Mark Etheridge

Our top judoka get to grips this weekend with the big prize being possible places on Team South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland later this year.

The action takes place at the Rembrandt Hall at Pretoria University in Tshwane.

The occasion is the national trials and ranking competitions and fights will range from the pre-Cadet division through to cadets, juniors, seniors and masters.

Weight divisions will be from as low as -34 kilograms up to 100kg and beyond.

Among the big guns in action will be London Olympian Jacques van Zyl, pictured right, from Gauteng North and the up-and-coming Siyabulela Mabulu who hails from the Eastern Cape and did well in at World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last year.

“I’ll be fighting twice on Friday evening,” Van Zyl told Road to Rio 2016. “The trials will be on Friday and only the top three or so judoka in each division fight in the trials. Saturday is the national rankings competition and that’s where fighters from around the country take part to earn points and try and get into the top three and be able to fight in the trials.

“It’s going to be tough, I have to win to stay in that national team. The trials will decide the team to go to African Championships (In Chad during June) and Commonwealth Games (in Glasgow, Scotland in late July, early August). So yes, there’s lots at stake and a nice big weekend that lies ahead for South African judo.”

Van Zyl lines up in the -73kg division and will take on Boland’s Daan Bosman (also at last year’s trials) and Eastern Province’s Luzoko Ziwa.

In the women’s competition it looks like Natasha Glassford (-63kg) and Sinothand Mva (-52kg) will once again shine. Both of them have worn national colours previously. Danica Bruwer, who trains with Van Zyl at the HPC, also has a good chance of honours.

There are also a number of young women judoka making names for themselves, namely Shaneska Smal and Geronay Whitebooi from Boland and Gauteng North respectively. Both contest the -48kg category.

Picture: web.up.ac.za


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