Western Cape Judo stays active

Judo, as a contact sport, is severely affected by the current Lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus, but the administrators and athletes are making sure they are active and prepared for when competition can resume again.

Loekie Niehaus, president of Western Cape Judo Federation and chairperson of Cape Winelands Karate, both affiliated to the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation, said they are encouraging athletes to stay at home and train at home.

They cannot train with each other, which makes things difficult as Judo is a contact sport, so the athletes have to train alone at home. The Paarl guys have started group training on Zoom and are doing classes on that digital platform. Hopefully other clubs can follow their example.
Loekie said Judoka can stay fit and practice techniques by using unconventional training aids such as a zero belt or an old bicycle tube.

Due to the Lockdown and subsequent ban on sporting activities all tournaments and competitions have been cancelled until after the Lockdown.
Cape Winelands had one or two tournaments before Lockdown but had to cancel two tournaments that were scheduled for during this period of isolation.
Loekie says this makes selection of teams difficult, as each tournament is trials for the selection of the District team for the South African Championship tournament. The SA Champs is supposed to take place in Johannesburg from 21-27 June. It has not been cancelled or postponed yet.
West Coast, Eden, Cape Town and Cape Winelands will be sending teams competing in all categories to the SA’s. Loekie said that Eden and West Coast are relatively young districts that are in a growing phase.
He was proud of them, stating they are doing extremely well and are already producing SA champions.
Loekie was hopeful that two tournaments scheduled for after Lockdown – The Western Cape Open on May 9 and the Cape Town tournament on 16 May – would go ahead.

Talking about the difficulty for athletes who just want to ply their trade, Loekie said they have come to accept the idea of training in their homes and on their own. We accept it because it is in the interest of everybody’s safety that we are not in contact with each other, he elaborated.

But he added if Judoka stay fit and focused, they should not take too long to participate at a competitive level again once competition resumes after the lifting of the Lockdown. He warns those that are slacking that they will find the going tough if they do not stick to their training regimes now.

For now, Loekie wants athletes and administrators alike to heed our president’s call to stay home and stay safe.
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