Young Judokas competing at the ongoing Africa Cadet and Junior Judo Championships have been urged to be brave and shun doping if they are to progress to be elite athletes.
Officially opening the championships, which are being held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) on Thursday, the Director in the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR), Falcon Sedimo, urged the young Judokas to compete fairly and to show character in everything they do.
The DSR Director warned the young Judokas against the spirit of ‘winning at all costs’, informing them that while this is competition, winning a medal is a necessity; medals are only secondary to character, he said.
Sedimo informed the young Judokas that any form of doping could ruin their lives and bar them from representing their countries in future. The DSR Director urged them to conquer their fears, saying this would put them in a good stead in any of their future endeavors.
Quoting from former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, Sedimo informed the young Judokas that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear,” the DSR Director quoted.
For his part, the president of the Africa Judo Union, Lasanna Palenfo, urged the young Judokas to use the competition as a springboard to catapult them to the Youth Olympics, which are due in China in 2014.
Palenfo called upon the young Judokas participating in the competition to show respect at all times during the competition. He pleaded with them to respect the judges as well as all the decisions taken during the course of the championships.
On other issues, Palenfo congratulated Botswana on the steps it has taken in developing sport in the country. The Africa Judo Union President said the fact that the country has been able to produce star junior athletes, like Nijel Amos, points to a commitment from the country’s powers to develop sport.
Earlier, when welcoming guests and competitors to the tournament, the President of Botswana Judo Federation (BJF), Estony Hattingh, thanked the Africa Judo Union for granting Botswana the opportunity to host the tournament. The BJF President said the tournament will help aid the growth of Judo in Botswana.
The competition has attracted young Judokas from across the African continent. The tournament, which is expected to be very competitive has attracted some of the continent’s powerhouses that include Libya, Morocco, Algeria and South Africa, with the latter having sent one of the largest contingents into the championships. The championship, which started on Thursday, is expected to come to an end today (Sunday).