8 Medals set a record and one for South African history books!
Cape Town, South Africa – It was one for the history books, and first for South African Kung Fu and youth in particular.
A squad of 9 athletes under the leadership of a legend of Kung Fu World Martial Arts Champion – M.J.Li – who did South Africa proud from the 10th to the 14th April 2019 while attending the Hong Kong International Kung Fu Wushu Championships. The global competition is attended by 32 countries and around 6 000 athletes.
M.J.Li, the consummate professional and seasoned Champion, led the young team by example as he competed in The Professional Kung Fu and TaiChi Athletes Division in TaiChi, Weapons, and Bare-hand Dual Divisions winning three gold medals.
Another first for South Africa saw Salma Natalie Doran – our top South African female compete at the tournament. Salma also won the gold medal in the ladies division.
As he did last year, 11-year-old Saifullah Chafeker won gold in the boys under 12 years division again. Despite being differently abled, he managed to compete in the boys under 12 years division against able-bodied athletes, claim first place and become a worthy gold medalist once more in 2019!
“What a proud moment for South Africa as our first female and differently-abled junior athletes proved inclusivity and equal opportunities can be achieved.”
Muhajir Abrahams and Sinawo Yola also won silver in the boys 11 year and 17-year-old categories. The entire team then combined their expertise and experience and competed in the team synchronised group event and won the gold medal… another first for South Africa.
The team who competed in the Group Event:
1. M.J.Li, Team Lead and Professional Athlete
2. Salma Natalie Doran, Ladies Beginner Athlete
3. Sinawo Yola, 16 years, Intermediate Athlete
4. Uzair Apollis, 17 years, Intermediate Athlete
5. Saifullah Chafeker, 11 years, Intermediate Athlete
6. Muhajir Abrahams, 11 years, Intermediate Athlete
7. Luqmaan Slarmie, 15 years, Intermediate Athlete
8. Ghumayd Goolam, 14 years, Beginner Athlete
9. Leandre Petersen, 11 years, Beginner Athlete
The Squad received wonderful support from Minister Albert Fritz, Department of Social Development, Minister Anroux Marais, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Executive Mayor, Mr Dan Plato, City of Cape Town, Mr Gang Dong, Head of Hua Xing Arts Group, The Chinese Consul General Cape Town Office, NGO Awqaf S.A. and local businesses who also provided incredible support for the Squad.
While at The Championship and Tournament in Hong Kong, M.J.Li received a huge honour when he was appointed as an official Global Ambassador for The Hong Kong International Kung Fu Wushu Championships by The Hong Kong Federation and Secretariat. The honour was bestowed as just reward for a successful career in Kung Fu over the years and now working with youth across South Africa to promote Chinese Martial Arts. This presentation was done by well known Hong Kong Movie Star, Mr Chui Ho.
This award and appointment and the squad’s achievements in Hong Kong could see Kung Fu become quite popular amongst the youth in the Western Cape and South Africa. M.J.Li has been working actively with youth across South Africa offering up his time for free since late 2016 teaching youth and kids the art of Chinese Kung Fu.
The squad will receive an official welcome back by the Honorable MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, Minister Anroux Marais on 23rd April 2019 at the Eagle Hall, Gleemor, Athlone where the squad’s medals, trophy and M.J.Li’s global ambassador appointment will be on display as well.