Tatami Tallies 53 Medals at SA Judo Championships

It was an action packed week at the 2019 SA Judo Championships hosted by Sedibeng at the Emerald Casino Resort from the 30th June to the 4th of July.   The National Championships are held annually by Judo SA and qualified judoka compete in their respective age and weight categories as representatives of their provinces.

The martial art known as the “gentle way” in Japanese is currently enjoying massive growth in South Africa.  In addition to the elite South African jukoda, this year the event included a section for novices. The country’s premier judo event also attracted athletes from Angola, Botswana, Congo, Mozambique, Namibia, USA and Zimbabwe with a total of 1400 competitors competing for top honors during the week long competition where skill, strength fitness, honour, respect and dignity were put to the test.

The local Tatami Judo club based in Bryanston, lead by Sensei Basil Smith and representing the Joburg Judo District, brought home a total of 53 medals from 39 athletes during the week-long competition: 20 gold, 12 silver and 7 bronze. These medals were achieved in the individual, team and kata events.

Tatami judoka attend various schools in the area including; Beaulieu Preparatory, Bryanston Primary, Bryanston High, German School, St Davids, Cooper College, Kings, Bryanston Parallel, Dainfern, Parktown Boys, Curro Aurora and Bryneven Primary.

Outstanding achievements in winning gold medals and being crowned SA champion for 2019 in their age and weight categories for advanced Judoka were: Thomas Baumann (German School), James Hulett (St Davids), Cameron Jardim (Bryneven), Kendra de Beer (Cooper College), Meegan Zomero (Bryneven) and Reinier Van der Bout. 

“The Tatami Judo athletes shone this year with some fantastic performances and achievements on the national stage.  The techniques practiced and perfected over years of dedication and training were on display, which is obviously very rewarding for me as their Sensei. Performing so well under pressure is also testament to fitness, discipline and fortitude which is what the sport is all about too.” said Basil Smith

According to Smith “Judo is an ideal sport for both boys and girls of all ages. It enhances the body’s core stability and strength.  Footwork and co-ordination learned here complement the training for other sporting activities. In addition to physical fitness, Judo boosts self-confidence, develops discipline, manners, punctuality, strength, stamina, perseverance, tenacity, toughness and character – all great preparation for life’s many challenges.”

Judo is practiced by more than 20 million individuals. Not only is it the world’s most popular combat sport, but in terms of sheer numbers, it is the second most popular of all sports after soccer. In 1964, Judo was the first of the martial arts to be included as a medal sport in the Olympic Games.

Tatami Judo Club was started by Sensei Basil Smith in 2007 and trains on Monday and Wednesday evenings at Bryanston Primary School.  For further information please email tatamijudo1@gmail.com.

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