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2018-09-18 06:00
Muhammad Junaid Chafeker training a group of learners from Cedar Primary School in Bonteheuwel. PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

Muhammad Junaid Chafeker training a group of learners from Cedar Primary School in Bonteheuwel. PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

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Muhammad Junaid Chafeker, a kung fu champion from Cape Town, is on his feet to ensure a group of top fighters are selected to be part of his team for an upcoming international tournament set to be held in Hong Kong next year.

Chafeker’s squad of 16 youths have just brought home eight medals from another international tournament held earlier this year, and he is already in the process of gathering the next group of youngsters that will travel with him to the 2019 World Kung Fu Champs.

The international champion, also known as MJ Li, is currently travelling across the Cape Flats in the hopes of spotting potential fighters located at schools in underprivileged communities.

About 10 youngsters have already been selected to represent South Africa at the tournament in March next year, he explains.

“I am firstly going to build on the squad that I took with me earlier this year. About 10 of these fighters have retained their places in this development squad and are assured to attend the tournament.

“They are seven children from Bonteheuwel, one from Langa and two from Gugulethu­.

“This time, I am doing a much shortened and renewed schools tour across the Cape Flats, and in the entire province. We will select a group of athletes from various schools in order to identify new talent and potential.

“Each school I visit gives me between 20 and 30 students where I will do a free trial camp every week. I am looking for disciplined and motivated students and they will have to undergo intense and rigorous training to see who makes the final cut,” says Chafeker.

The trial camp includes the practice of kung fu, which comes in both hand and weapon form, and traditional lion dancing in costumes which will be presented at the tournament.

He says the remaining fighters will be selected from the trial camps to complete a final team of 20.

“I will try to draw as many squads as possible and then announce the final team at a schools tournament set to be held in Paarl at the end of September. It was a wonderful opportunity for these children to meet other athletes their age.

“We intend to go bigger and better for the upcoming tournament and encourage local businesses to make their contribution towards­ the squad to ensure­ these children are taken over to Hong Kong.

“I am doing this programme with these children for free. God has chosen me to do this form of martial art and allowed me to be a kung fu champion, in order to offer this personal development to others. I am honoured and happy to offer my time to these communities.”

He adds that the schools’ tour is not limited to poor communities and is open to all schools across the Western Cape. V For more information, call Muhammad Junaid Chafeker on 081 711 1211 or 082 454 3027.

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