#TuksJudo: Less friendly Snyman back on track to qualify for the Olympics

Posted on October 31, 2019

The Tuks Judoka, Unelle Snyman, made a mindset change as to when and where she can afford to be friendly now she is on track to maybe qualify for next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo. 
The past weekend competing at the Grand Slam Tournament in Abu Dhabi she improved her international ranking by four positions. She is currently ranked 37th in the women's under-78kg category.
Snyman is confident of improving her ranking yet again from Monday when she competes at the Oceania Open in Perth, Australia. 
"It is still far from a done deal that I will get to represent South Africa at the Olympics. I need to improve my ranking by at least another six positions. So I am in the hunt for points each time I step onto the judo mats," the Tuks athlete explained.  
In the past, Nikola Filipov (Tuks head coach) tended to be slightly critical of Snyman's approach during international tournaments. He views judo as a fighting sport. 
"The top ten women judoka in any category are 'killing machines'. Within the rules of judo, they will resort to any which way necessary to win. If that means hurting an opponent, then they will do so without any hesitation.
"Unelle used to try and befriend everyone whenever she competed. It meant she was not as focused as she should be, but she changed, and it is exciting."
Snyman laughs when hearing of Filopov criticism. 
"Nikola is actually not wrong. I have learned the hard way that there is a time to be friendly. When stepping onto the judo mats, you can't be as your opponent will use your friendliness against you. Now when I fight, I want to win. I realised that you cannot put in the long hard hours during training just to lose out in the end. Time is starting to run out to qualify for the Olympic Games." 
Snyman added that hurting during training does not bother her anymore. It inspires her as she knows she will reap the rewards.
The Tuks judoka had a message for support for the Springboks.
"They are playing England on Saturday in the World Cup final. It is going to be tough. When you faceoff to England in any sport you know you are going to be pushed to the limits. I would know as in Abu-Dhabi I lost in the final minute against the world's number sixth-seeded Natalie Powell (England). The biggest mistake I can make is now to doubt my abilities. 
"The Springboks lost to England in their last encounter. That result is done and dusted. On Saturday the playing field is level, if the Boks can stick to doing what they do best they will win. They just need to believe."
- Author Wilhelm de Swardt
Published by Leonore Jordaan

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