City ‘karate kid’ to represent South Africa at continental event

2016-04-13 06:00
Zahra Kader demonstrates her karate prowess. PHOTO: thabang mathebula

Zahra Kader demonstrates her karate prowess. PHOTO: thabang mathebula

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A PIETERMARITZBURG “karate kid” is set to fight for a big belt in the Africa Zone 6 continental championships.

The tournament, involving seven countries, will be held in Zimbabwe in May.

Zahra Kader (14) is the reigning provincial and national junior karate champion, and the only junior Protea from Pietermaritzburg.

Zahra was also selected to represent the country at the UFAK tournament, a championship in which 53 countries take part, and which is set take place in Durban in July.

The Grade 8 pupil from Maritzburg Muslim School for Girls said she is well aware of the role and responsibility she has in representing the country.

She successfully defended her title recently, winning a gold medal and a silver in a national tournament on 17 March.

That victory earned her a spot in the national team to represent the country in the Africa Zone 6 tournament.

Zahra said her aim is to earn continental ranking, which she believes can open doors for the Olympics in future.

“I have been training very hard because I want to win more championships and rankings. I know I have a big role to represent my country. I know it comes with a lot of responsibility. I am ready,” she said.

Zahra said she ensures she balances her studies and sport. “My coach would always tell us we should keep our heads small and our dreams big. Both school and karate are important to me.”

At school, Zahra has started a karate class for females. She said young women should learn to defend themselves, especially in a society tainted by crime.

“Karate teaches one respect and discipline, and there is always something­ new to learn about it,” she said.

Proteas head coach Brando Pillay said Zahra stands a good chance of becoming a world champion.

“Zahra is a hardworking athlete and very consistent, with potential to win the world championship,” he said.

“She has been in the top three nationally for three years and now she is a champion.”

Zahra’s father Asgar Kader, who currently runs four karate dojos in Pietermaritzburg and occasionally helps Zahra with training, said he was happy his daughter is making such good progress.

However, her parents always urged the young girl to balance her studies and sport, he said.

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