TWO Nelson Mandela Bay pupils were crowned champions in their respective divisions at the US Open World Martial Arts Championship held in Orlando, Florida, last week.
More than 35 countries participate in the annual tournament.
Uitenhage’s Mziwamadoda Goba, 16, and Claudia Telford, 18, of Port Elizabeth, were the only two Bay participants included in the South African team that competed.
Telford, a Grade 12 pupil at Victoria Park High, won two trophies after she came first in her age division (women between 18 and 29) and in point-sparring.
Goba, who is in Grade 11 at Muir College, won a trophy in the 16 to 17 male black belt division, and a bronze medal in point-sparring.
The South African team were selected at the national championships held at the University of Cape Town in September last year.
Telford, who only became involved in the sport in May last year, was selected for the SA team after she won a bronze medal at the national championships.
“The world championships tournament was the toughest competition that I have been to. The event was big and scary, but I’m excited I managed to win the two prizes.”
Telford said she would now focus on working towards receiving her black belt and the Eastern Province Classic tournament to be held later this month in Despatch.
Goba said he started training martial arts in 2011 at the Fusion Mix-Martial Arts Club in Uitenhage because the sport taught discipline and self-defence.
“I was also selected for the national team that went to Florida after I became an SA champion in my division in Cape Town last year.
“My parents had to pay all the travelling expenses which was the difficult part of being a team member.”
Goba also plays rugby and does athletics at school
He hopes to use the experience gained at the world championships to excel at the EP Classic.