… Snatches four medals against continent’s best
By John Tueriajama
THE Namibian team has scooped four medals during the recent South African Open Judo Championships in Bloemfontein, as they held their own against the very best on the continent.
The championships attracted competitive fighters from Angola, Botswana, Congo, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, who competed for top honours at the event held from 3 to 8 July.
Representing Namibia, Deutsche Hohere Privatschule (DHPS) sensei coach, Sylvia Konzmann, won gold and silver in the master’s category, in different events.
Her fighters, 11-year-old Lorenz Denk and 16-year-old Lieselotte Krooss, won silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Konzmann said a total of 1 000 judo fighters took part in the week-long competition at the University of Free State.
“It’s considered as the biggest competition in Southern Africa, at which host South Africa picked their strongest players. It’s our fourth time competing in the SA Open Championships,” said Konzmann.
The gold medallist, who is also a teacher at DHPS, said the Namibian team consisted of eight athletes from the school’s club, and they had been preparing since March, by training up to four times a week. “Experienced fighters, as well as newcomers, had joined the DHPS team, whose aim was to increase the number of medals,” said the coach.“The overall experience and performances were tremendous, as the DHPS judoka managed to win fights, by getting points, and enduring throughout the gruelling tournament. We proudly achieved our goal and brought back four medals,” said Konzmann. In an interview with Confidente recently, she said that she had introduced judo at DHPS, and that the sport has since grown from strength to strength at the school.
Konzmann, who has participated in various competitions in Germany, said she has been doing judo for the past 24 years, and has never stopped taking part in the sport. “Judo is my passion, as it always brings something new. In Germany, judo has been introduced in the school curriculum, but it’s only an extramural activity at DHPS,” said Konzmann.
Having been founded in 2012, the DHPS judo club has received assistance from the Namibia Judo Federation, which has presented them with fighting gear.
Commenting on the popularity of the sport, Konzmann said that there is not much interest from the general public, as the sport is only being practised in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, while the University of Namibia (Unam) also has a club. She said that judo instils discipline and coordination, and is ideal for school children, as it is an effective builder of body coordination, which describes the smooth, efficient movement patterns that form part of sport skills and tasks. Konzmann said that South Africa has a huge judo community, and that their provinces have several judo clubs, which boast truly professional administrations. Asked if Namibia has the potential to field a team at future Commonwealth and Olympic Games, the coach said that the country still has a very long way to go, before qualifying for global judo events.
“Unfortunately, we have less competitive events in the country, when compared to South Africa. There is interest in the sport, especially from young girls, and I hope that some of them will sign up for the various clubs,” she said.
“It’s a very hard sport, which requires constant training, and sometimes you really need to train like hell, to be competitive at events,” Konzmann said.
Judo is a rigorous and demanding physical contact sport. The practice of judo techniques help people develop basic and fundamental physical fitness in a number of ways, such as the development of strength, flexibility, agility, speed, dynamic and static balance, including explosive power and endurance.
Not only does the sport produce tremendous gains in overall physical and athletic ability, students also learn the specific skills and technique of judo.
They learn a variety of techniques, in order to throw their opponents to the ground with force, speed and control, and are often exposed to many of these throwing techniques in their career. Students also learn the dynamic of subduing of their opponents on the ground, through pinning and submission techniques.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015