Some of the world’s best judo athletes are strutting their stuff in Nelson Mandela Bay at the Commonwealth Judo Games.
It is also the first time the judo games are hosted on the African Continent.
South Africa successfully outbid two other countries to host the games.
South Africa, like many other Commonwealth members, is seen as a developing country when it comes to judo.
Judo power houses include France, Japan and the former Russian Federation countries.
Coming off the back of a successful 2011 Junior World Champs in Cape Town, South Africa topped Scotland and India for this event.
President of the Commonwealth Judo Association Richard Kenny says, “Each of the three countries made a presentation on what they could offer in judo categories, the city where it would be held, dates and hotels. The congress listened to those three bids and everyone had a confidential vote and South Africa came out on top.”
The Commonwealth Judo Association predominantly sees its role as a development one which fits in with the challenges faced by the sport in South Africa.
President of Judo South Africa Temba Hlasho says, “We have to go rural to townships we have to make sure all are on board and they play sport, what becomes difficult is accessing it because of resources so our main challenge is resources to make sure everyone who does Judo is catered for.”
Around 500 athletes from 15 Commonwealth nations are taking part in the games.
“By competing against different countries we also learn different techniques and styles because in South Africa we have a way of fighting and all the countries have their own way of fighting and to apply different styles makes judo more fun”, says Matthew Chase, a blackbelt second dan.
The final matches are scheduled for April 28.