#TuksJudo: Tuks judoka wins African Open Judo Championship

Posted on November 17, 2019

The Tuks judoka Unelle Snyman had a significant breakthrough over the weekend when she won a gold medal at the African Open Judo Championship in Dakar. 

It is her first international tournament victory. By doing so, she gained 100 global ranking points and kept her hopes of qualifying for next year's Tokyo Olympic Games alive. She is currently ranked as the 38th best judoka in the women's under-78kg category.

Her success means the Tuks judoka qualified to compete at next month's Qingdao Masters Tournament in China.

"Ecstatic and humbled" is how Snyman described her performance in Dakar.  

According to her, it was the psychological boost she needed. Especially after what happened last week when she competed in Perth. Snyman lost consciousness during her semi-final encounter while she was being strangled. In the end, the Tuks judoka still managed to win the bronze medal.

Another reason why it was vital for her to win is that two years back Snyman lost against Lucia Cantero (Argentina) during the African Open Tournament. 

Over the weekend the two of them again faced off in the semi-final. Snyman admits she had to keep her wits about her for every second of the four-minute fight. 

"It boiled down to both of us giving as good as we got. I think up to the very last moment there was no clear cut winner. The judges, however, decided I had done enough to secure the victory. 

"My opponent in the final was the German Marie Branser, who is now representing the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It turned out to be one of my best performances as I was in control for most of the fight.

"In the past, I might have doubted whether I am good enough to compete against the best. I, however, came to realise that I am training as hard as any international judoka. Our coach Nikola Filipov is also world-class. Now, when I compete, it is a case of doing what I have been taught and to remain focussed."

 

- Author Wilhelm de Swardt
Published by Leonore Jordaan

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