Fencing Olympian, Sello Maduma plans to embark on a provincial drive to teach young people and create awareness about the sport in the remote areas of Limpopo.
The 33-year-old, who represented South Africa at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, says he wants to grow the sport in the province. “I have already visited Mankweng and the University of Limpopo before the lockdown and most of the young people in the area are keen to participate and want to know more about fencing.
“There is a perception that fencing is for the elite because the equipment is expensive and we want to change that belief. We want to produce more Olympians from remote areas.”
He further stated that he will be visiting schools in Venda, Tzaneen, Waterberg and Phalaborwa early next year to recruit players, coaches and role players.
“We want to conscientise the youth about the sport. We want the sport to be visible, we also want the sport to grow, not in numbers but in quality. It will be ideal to have more clubs and academies in the province. Currently we do not have adequate clubs and academies but if we have plenty of them we will be able to develop and grow the sport. We want everyone to access fencing.”
Maduma competed in two épée events in the Beijing Olympics. For his first event, the men’s individual épée, Maduma lost the first preliminary match to South Korea’s Kim Seung Gu, with a score of 12-15.
A few days later, he joined with his fellow fencers and teammates Mike Wood and Dario Torrente, for the men’s team épée and his team, however, lost the preliminary round of 16 matches to the Chinese team led by Li Guojie, with a total score of 28 touches. “I was the first black South African fencer at the Olympics and the experience was amazing. I learned a lot from other international fencers and I want everyone to experience that.”
Maduma is a coach at the Sello Maduma Fencing Academy in Polokwane and said he is happy to see fencers at the club reporting for training after the lockdown. “We are happy to be back, we had to postpone many events because of the lockdown. Fencing is a Covid-19 friendly sport and we are urging all members to come back. We are planning to host a fencing training camp which will have a small competition in October in Polokwane.”
Story: Herbert Rachuene