Local kickboxers excel abroad

By Michael Uugwanga

NAMIBIAN kickboxers continue to excel internationally following yet another good display at the Abu Dhabi International Professional Jiu-Jitsu championships in Johannesburg, South Africa on 1 December that saw Delano Muller win a gold medal, while Jan Gouws won silver on his first international debut.

Giano Alcock also won a silver medal and Lesley !Hoaeb had to settle for bronze.

The medals won by the Namibian team shows that a lot is being done by the Namibia Kickboxing Federation under the leadership of its president, Anita de Klerk, who continues to develop the sport under trying conditions due to a lack of resources at its disposal.

With or without resources, since the federation does not enjoy any funding from the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), de Klerk and her team have over the past few years ensured that their athletes are fit and in the right frame of mind when representing the country wherever they go.

Muller defeated Joshua Belcher of South Africa, after easily overcoming Belcher in one minute and 15 seconds, and is yet to taste defeat in his career. Gouws surprised everyone by beating Lineshan Naidoo of South Africa, while Alcock beat Tylor Lazarus also from South Africa, with !Hoaeb in third place overall behind Sean Maher in first place and Jarryd Bands in second place also from South Africa.

The Abu Dhabi International Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship was contested by kickboxers from host South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Israel and Pakistan.

Speaking to Confidente Sport this week, de Klerk paid tribute to the local kickboxers, saying she had seen lots of positive growth among the athletes, despite the meagre resources at hand and was confident that kickboxing will soon become a major sport code in Namibia.

Kickboxing is not yet an Olympic sport, but de Klerk hopes to see it added to the list in the near future.

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She also praised Gouws, who is already being described as a future “superstar” if he continues to work hard and not get carried away by his sudden success.

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“It means a lot as their international ranking has improved.

They did so well that Namibia came in third place overall behind Angola and SA in this competition. If we can get more students involved, we can even do better. But due to financial restrictions, not everyone can afford these competitions.

“Jiu-Jitsu is not an Olympic sport yet. There are competitions internationally that they will be taking part in. February 29, 2020 will be the next competition, the Abu Dhabi National Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Stellenbosch.

“Gouws was a big surprise as it was his first international outing and he won a well-deserved silver medal,” said de Klerk.