Karate kid wants world gold

2017-03-14 16:26
Young karate world champion Schean Marais, right, from Zeekoevlei with his karate teacher Hammond Dylan. Schean is ready to step up to the Olympic podium.

Young karate world champion Schean Marais, right, from Zeekoevlei with his karate teacher Hammond Dylan. Schean is ready to step up to the Olympic podium. (Gary van Dyk)

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A karate kid from Zeekoevlei is making moves to get South Africa’s first gold medal in karate at the Olympics.

Schean Marais (17), a Grade 12 learner of the Constantia Waldorf school, has just returned from the KSI national championships in Durban with the gold medal in the under-76kg kumite category for 16 and 17-year-olds.

As a member of the Kimura Shukokai International (KSI) dojo in Lakeside for the past ten years he is no stranger to top achievements in this field.

This latest achievement is his third national title with top honours previously received in 2013 and 2015. He won his first international gold medal in Greece in 2013 and is the current world champion in his age group after participating at the championships in Germany last year.

One of his biggest supporters, who believes in his dream to get Olympic gold for South Africa, is his sensei Hammond Dylan who feels that Schean has what is needed to compete at the highest level.

“Since he started taking part in competitions I have seen that he has the passion and determination to always strive to be the best,” he says. “He has a natural talent for the sport but he still works harder than anyone else to constantly improve his skills.

“While the experience at junior levels has given him a taste of competitions overseas, he knows that once he enters the senior levels when he turns 18 later this year the competition is going to be tougher, but I have faith that he will be able to face these challenges.

“As a senior there will be more overseas competitions on what is regarded as a professional circuit where he has to participate in ten of these world events in order to qualify for the Olympics. It’s going to be tough but there are a lot of people who believes in his talent.”

Watching the young fighter going through his training routine, it is easy to see why he has the potential to realise his dreams as his lightning fast punches and kicks have some of the younger students in awe as they watch him while waiting for their classes to begin.

He says he was initially not really interested in the sport, but when he was about six or seven he followed one of his best friends who wanted to do karate.

“We just did everything together so when he started I had to follow,” he says. “Initially it was just a lot of fun but after a year I was really loving it, and strangely my friend did not continue.

“Once I started doing competitions it also became more serious for me and I started having this dream of competing at the Olympics one day.

“I am thankful for all the encouragement and motivation that I get, especially from my parents who constantly remind me that I must always appreciate the opportunities that I am given. With their support and blessing I know I can achieve at the highest level.”

His mother Adele is not shy to admit that she is his biggest fan.

“I am very proud of Schean,” she says.

“As a parent I am not just proud of his achievements but he remains humble about what he has done, he is never boastful and just lives for his training.

“I’ve realised that it is hard work for him but he never complains about the hours that he has to put in. He knows that to be the best in this sport is tough, but he takes it all in his stride.

“As parents it is our duty to make our children believe in themselves and let them know that in the new South Africa there are no limits to what they want to do in life. Those of us who grew up in the apartheid era know about those limits that were imposed on us. Our children must never suffer the same fate and Schean is going to show the world that he can be the best.”

His father Albert is also proud of his son’s achievement.

“The commitment of this young lad is something that all young adults should aspire to,” he says. “Schean is unrelenting in always striving to be the best and he is learning that hard work and dedication to his sport is paying off.”

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