Kensington karate kids return from ‘daunting’ trip to world championships in Italy

Miengaah Hendricks and Rania Gamieldien proudly boast of their bronze medal with Sensei Tharwa Hendricks. PHOTO: provided

They came, they saw and they conquered.

Kensington teenagers Miengaah Hendricks and Rania Gamieldien each won a bronze medal in the Junior Women’s Kumite division after competing at the 6th World Goju Ryu Karate Federation (WGKF) in Italy earlier this month.

The WGKF brings together Goju-Ryu practitioners from around the world in a single competition.

It took place from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 September.

Hendricks and Gamieldien were part of a team of Goju Ryu practitioners from South Africa who represented the country in Italy.

Due to the pandemic, the duo were unable to participate in any competitions and had to train virtually.

The teenagers were also part of the South African squad that represented the country at the 5th WGKF held in Malaysia in 2019.

Tharwa Hendricks, Sensei at Kensington Karate School, says 17 countries took part in the championship of which the South African team was the only group from the African continent.

Overall, the South African team finished in fourth place, winning 10 gold medals, seven silver medals and 19 bronze medals.

Tharwa says she is proud of the girls’ achievement.

“There were a lot of nerves on their part. The competition was tough, but I kept encouraging them and telling them to do their best. They performed well.

Tharwa, who qualified as a WGKF referee, says she is happy to be able to referee on the international stage.

“I was studying on the plane making sure I knew all the rules of the competition. It was nerve wracking but I’m glad I got to represent the country as a member of the SA referees. was an eventful tournament.”

Hendricks says she is happy with their success.

“I was nervous. But it was a good experience. We are happy with the medals we won and what we did in the championship.

Gamieldien said: “We had to compete individually, so I couldn’t see how Miengaah was doing and she couldn’t see me. My goal was to give the best of myself. It was a good experience. It was daunting, but I’m glad we got some medals.

Gamieldien and Hendricks both echoed that their goal now is to be ranked as a black belt. They are currently both candidates for brown belts.

As soon as Grade 11 learners arrived home on Thursday, September 15, their minds went straight to textbooks as they prepared for September exams.

Gamieldien says: “We missed two weeks of school work, so we have to catch up and take exams. We now have to study because our goal is to reach the baccalaureate next year.

Tharwa reiterated the need for people and sponsors to get involved to support sports codes like karate and many more.

“We have a lot of children in the community who need extra help. It is our dream to involve the community and send the children abroad. We have a lot of potential in our field, and it doesn’t materialize because karate is a self-funded sport. So funding is always an issue.

Gamieldien thanked everyone who supported them and made their trip to Italy possible.

“It was our first time in Italy. We were able to meet people and go sightseeing. Going to Venice was also a highlight. Thank you to everyone who helped us, especially our families, Sensei and the media who covered our trip.

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