Karate champ ready to compete for international medal

2015-11-10 06:00
Kyle Inglis, operations director at Play Sport4Life, with Aayesha Kleinsmith, who will compete at the World Karate Federation Championships in Indonesia soon.

Kyle Inglis, operations director at Play Sport4Life, with Aayesha Kleinsmith, who will compete at the World Karate Federation Championships in Indonesia soon.

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A few weeks ago Aayesha Kleinsmith’s dream of representing South Africa at the World Karate Federation Championships in Indonesia seemed impossible.

Now, with the help of Play Sport4Life (PS4L), that dream has come true.

Aayesha is a first-year Sports Science student at the University of the Western Cape and a junior nidan (second degree black belt) from Kensington.

This is the third time she has been selected to represent her country. Having struggled to raise funds for the first tournament and not being able to attend the second due to financial strain, her mother, Rukeya Kleinsmith, pleaded for financial help for her daughter’s trip. By organising fundraising events they were able to cover a portion of the money needed, but had no idea where they would get the rest.

PS4L has sponsored the remaining funds. The non-profit organisation, which was established in Kensington last year, supports Aayesha because she represents women in sport and could be an ambassador for the organisation in promoting women in various sports.

“PS4L is home-grown and we want to work with athletes in the area who represent what we feel is needed in Kensington,” says Kyle Inglis, operations director at PS4L. “We want to establish a good working relationship with her, one that can stretch far beyond financial.”

Aayesha is now able to put her energy and focus into her training to prepare for the upcoming tournament. She aims to do her best and make her family, friends and community proud. South Africa hasn’t won a medal at the championships since 1997 and she hopes to be the one to change that.

“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” she says. She hopes to be an inspiration to the youth in Kensington, especially girls, to never give up on their dreams.

For more information on Play Sport4Life contact Nazlie Dollie on 071 386 6573 or nazlie@ps4l.org.za or visit www.playsport4life.org.

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