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SOUTH AFRICAN SPORTS CONFEDERATION AND OLYMPIC COMMITTEE

Judoka await draw as Games draw closer

judo

By Mark Etheridge

Our six judoka are just about fit and raring to get to grips with the Games as the opening date approaches at speed.

The team had a gruelling training session at the impressive Ravenscraig multisport centre not far from the Athletes’ Village in Dalmarnock on Monday.

Coach Vintcent Redpath put his team through a 90-minute workout that had the players gasping for air at times.

The only player to sit the session out was the sole female member of the side, Sinothando Mva, or Pinky as she is nicknamed.

‘She’s got a little niggle in the shoulder area, so we’re just managing her,’ said Bloemfontein based Redpath, whose son William won a bronze medal in the recent African Youth Games in Botswana.

Our first three judoka in action on Thursday will be Daniel ‘DJ’ le Grange, Siyabulela Mabulu and Mva.

They take the floor in the -60kg, -66kg and -52kg respectively.

‘The draw will be made on Tuesday afternoon at 1.30pm and then we’ll know who the guys are going to be fighting,’ said manager Ina van den Heever.

‘The first three players’ weigh-ins will be made on Wednesday afternoon at 1pm, earlier than usual because of the opening ceremony that evening.’

‘Normally the weigh-in would be on the evening before their fights.’

It’s always good to see a manager getting his hands dirty and coach Redpath, himself a black belt and former national champion back in 1995 (-65kg category), was fully involved as he did his share of grappling and grabbing, working out with mostly DJ le Grange who is near to his weight category.

Summing up our men’s chances before the draw, he said: ‘I’ve got big expectations from Siyabulela. He’s a natural, as well as a fast learner and he’s been around a while so he’s got plenty of experience.

‘He got top 10 at world’s in Mozambique last year and then was fifth in African champs in Mauritius a few weeks back.

‘Then DJ is a real dark horse. On his day he can surprise anyone, purely because he believes in himself so much.’

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