Anoxolo, Lebu grab gold, but won’t get to meet Arnie

Members of Nemato Fencing Club took part in the Eastern Cape inter-district tournament in Port Alfred recently. The team, back from left, is: Yamkela Plaatjie, Thulani Magongo, Jessica Raper (coach) and Anoxolo Salazar; front: Vuyolwethu Mavuso, Ayabulela Daka, Aphelele Quma, Axole Tokota, Avuyile Tokota, Lindokuhle Tshungulwana, Oneza Veto, Emihle Quma and Lebu Sondevu
Members of Nemato Fencing Club took part in the Eastern Cape inter-district tournament in Port Alfred recently. The team, back from left, is: Yamkela Plaatjie, Thulani Magongo, Jessica Raper (coach) and Anoxolo Salazar; front: Vuyolwethu Mavuso, Ayabulela Daka, Aphelele Quma, Axole Tokota, Avuyile Tokota, Lindokuhle Tshungulwana, Oneza Veto, Emihle Quma and Lebu Sondevu

Port Alfred sports club Nemato Change a Life Fencing bagged two gold medals at the Eastern Cape Inter-District Fencing competition in the resort town recently.

Anoxolo Salazar, 15, and Lebu Sondevu, 10, each collected a gold medal for their club at the competition.

The winners of the competition earn themselves a spot at the Arnold Classic in Johannesburg from May 18 to 20, to be attended by Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

However, the two young fencers will not be able to attend due to financial constraints

Anexolo will instead travel to Durban to take part in the Kwa-Zulu Open Fencing Ranking competition in September.

Anexolo dominated the Junior National Fencing Championship in the U17 category held in Eastern Cape early this year.

He is ranked number 15 in South Africa in the U17 fencing rankings and is number one in the province.

Rising star Lebu, who wants to be part of the South African Fencing Olympic team one day, said he was excited about his achievement.

“I am very happy. Fencing is the only sport I play and it’s my favourite sport,” he said.

“We are also taught to respect each other and older people.

“I train every day after school and think it was my hard work that helped me win the medal.”

Fencing coach Thulani Magongo said the Nemato Change a Life programme was an initiative to get children active in sport and off the streets.

“We have four sporting codes in the programme which are fencing, rowing, gymnastics and handball,” Magongo said.

“Anexolo and Lebu are involved in fencing and both have done well in the EC inter-district trails and in the EC Championships.

“There are many people who have shown interest in the sport but, due to transport issues, are unable to take part in the sport.

“We don’t have the means to fetch people from their homes for training sessions and return them after training.

“We teach kids how to handle the weapon, the rules and regulations of the game.

“They are also taught to work as a team, be dedicated and that hard work pays off.”

Magongo said the medals were an encouragement to the rest of the team to work hard and strive for excellence.

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