Local boxers big hit at Nationals
Overstrand Whale Boxing Club’s boxers came home victorious after winning gold, silver and bronze medals at the National Championships held in Limpopo last week.
Coach Mzi Damesi says he couldn’t be prouder after both Mabini Kasi (Damesi) and Siyakholwa Nxati (15) won gold medals at this prestigious tournament where large numbers of boxers from across South Africa competed against each other. Damesi says the fact that Mabini won gold even though it was his first time competing at national level, makes the achievement even more extraordinary.
Akhule Mgoqi (16) bagged silver and Likho Macwarandile (15), who managed to compete as far as the semi-finals, a bronze medal.
Unfortunately for the team one of their most promising boxers, Nambita Cassandra Nywebeni (16), had to withdraw from the competition after she suffered shortness of breath due to the humid conditions in Limpopo.
“It was a big disappointment because I believe she could have won gold,” said Damesi. He, however, remains convinced that Nywebeni stands a good chance to reach great heights in boxing in future.
“We will be working hard to make sure she reaches the Nationals again next year,” he added.
Damesi says Siykholwa’s achievement made up for this disappointment. “I am bursting with pride,” Damesi exclaimed. “He fought very well and managed to knock out his opponent in the first round of the fight!”
The proud coach believes Siyakholwa stands a great chance to be elected to the national boxing team when he reaches the age of 17. He added: “The coach of the national boxing team was at the championships and he seemed impressed with Siyakholwa’s performance.”
Damesi expressed his gratitude towards EMS Foundation whose generous sponsorship enabled the boxing club to travel to Limpopo to take part in the National Championships.
“Their support means so much to us. Without them we would not have been able to go,” he stated.
On Saturday the exuberant young boxers were treated to a joyous occasion to celebrate their achievements. They marched through the streets of Zwelihle to Zwelihle Youth Café brandishing banners thanking EMS Foundation for the organisation’s sponsorship which enabled them to travel to the National Championships.
EMS Director Michelle Pickford says it was important to host this celebration in order to give the young boxers and their coach recognition for their achievements.
“It is important to give credit where credit is due,” she stated.
EMS also assists the boxers with equipment and their kit and funding to cover their travelling costs to various tournaments they compete in.
“They do extraordinarily well for a very small club with virtually no resources. The Club does fantastic work, keeping the children off the streets and away from drugs and teaching them about discipline,” said Pickford.
She encouraged more local businesses to support the Overstrand Whale Boxing Club as she believes they show great potential and are very committed.
“We will continue supporting them because we believe there are some of those children who can reach the Olympics,” she said.
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