UKZN student knuckles up

2013-09-19 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG student Thirushni Naicker is off to Canada next month to take part in the Commonwealth Karate Championships in Montreal.

The 20-year-old University of KwaZulu-Natal social sciences student plans to go to Canada and kick b***.

“I hope to come back with the gold or at least place in the top three,” Naicker told The Witness.

For Naicker, who has won a provincial title and come second at nationals, competing at the Commonwealth Karate Championships has always been a target.

“It’s been a dream of mine,” she said.

“It’s all the world’s top seasoned fighters. It’s the best of the best.”

She regarded her coach Sensei Brando Pillay, one of the coaches for the South African team, as the person she looked up to the most.

“He’s always motivated and inspired us,” she said.

“He … has competed at the World Cup in Venezuela.”

Naicker, when she’s not training, competing and studying, also manages to put some time in imparting her knowledge about karate to others.

“I teach it on Mondays and Wednesdays. I teach students, older people, children, people of all ages. My youngest student is four.”

On Saturdays, she heads to Durban to train with the national team.

“I belong to SKI [Shotokan Karate International] South Africa that has its headquarters in Durban. I am also the instructor in Pietermaritzburg,” she said.

She said anyone could take up karate as a sport. “You can start at any age. You can be in any condition and it will make you fit,” she said.

Despite winning a provincial title and coming second at nationals, she said her biggest achievement so far was becoming a Protea.

Since there was no funding in her sport, her travels overseas were paid for by her parents. But she said her family and friends have also contributed towards the costs.

She leaves for Canada on October 7.

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