PE karateka ready to take on world

Scramble to secure funds puts trip to Spain in balance

Bay karateka Noloyiso Bonga has earned selection for the Karate World Championships in Spain next month. However, a lack of funds could still scupper her participation
Bay karateka Noloyiso Bonga has earned selection for the Karate World Championships in Spain next month. However, a lack of funds could still scupper her participation
Image: Eugene Coetzee

Having been selected to represent South Africa at the Karate World Championships in Spain in November, Nelson Mandela Bay’s Noloyiso Bonga says the financial challenges could scupper her chances of taking part in the showpiece.

The 32-year-old KwaDwesi Extension resident has about a week-and-a-half to collect more than R 35,000 to fund her trip to the championships in Madrid, Spain, from November 2 to 11.

Speaking to Weekend Post earlier this week, Bonga said she had already collected about half the required amount, and was in talks with other potential sponsors who would be assisting her with finances for her trip.

“I am feeling really emotional about this whole situation, because I love this sport and would love to represent my country in the championships,” Bonga said.

“I have so far managed to collect about half of what I need for the trip and I am waiting to hear from other sponsors whom I have approached for assistance.

“And although I still have some time before the money needs to be paid in, I can’t help but worry because I might not be able to go.”

Ranked top of the pile in the Eastern Cape and in the top five in the country, Bonga said she had gained selection after some noteworthy performances saw her achieve gold and bronze medals at the Arnold Classic in the team and individual categories earlier in 2018.

She competed at the 2018 national trial event, where she finished in second place to further boost her chances of gaining selection.

“My preparations have been going well, but with all these challenges, it affects my mind. I am always thinking about whether I will be able to get all the finances I need to go to Spain.

“I love this sport and I love representing my country. I would like to turn out for South Africa as long as I am able.

“I flew to Cape Town on Thursday to get my visa, but that is a risk for me as I don’t know what will happen,” Bonga said.

This will not be the first time she will pull on the green and gold as Bonga has represented SA on numerous occasions, including in 2017 when she was chosen to participate at the Region 5 Championships in Mozambique – where she won a gold medal.

Describing herself as an energetic child, she said she would mimic what she saw when watching karate movies in her younger days.

Growing up in Kwazakhele, she stumbled upon community members doing karate and decided to join.

“My mother did not want me to take up the sport as she felt it was dangerous, but I got a lot of support from my father, who encouraged me to go for it.

“I also played rugby and soccer briefly, but ultimately, it was karate that stuck with me.

“I just could not get enough of the sport, and I am glad that I stuck with it, because I have achieved so much thus far.

“The sport has helped me a lot over the years. I have been doing it for a very long time and I can say with confidence that it has helped me in life.

“It is a sport that builds character and teaches discipline.

“I would encourage people, especially young girls, to give it a try as it can also equip you with the necessary skills to protect yourself if ever you need them.”

Bonga, a sport content producer for radio station Umhlobo Wenene, is the only breadwinner in her family.

She says she is proud to have earned the right to attend the championships in Spain, but would not have achieved her goal without the support of her family.

The Commonwealth karate tournament is scheduled to be hosted in Durban in December and she hopes to be a part of that event.