Since Stellar Foundation’s judo club was established on 14 February 2015, the team has grown immensely and continues to reach new heights.
In 2015, before the club was a reality, judo was an unknown sport to the children of the community, but it was something new they could get involved in. According to Gert Loubser, coordinator of Stellar Foundation’s sport teams, the children that take part in judo become more independent, improving their discipline and nurturing their talent in the process.
Stellar Foundation is a non-profit organisation founded by Stellar Winery in Kys Halte, near Vredendal in the Western Cape, which focuses on the wellbeing, health and empowerment of the community, as well as the labourers on the wine farms and their families.
Thirteen members of Stellar’s judo team went to Saldanha Bay earlier this week to compete at a judo competition after a fortnight of training in February. They returned victorious, with nine gold medals and four silver medals.
“After several competitions in Cape Town in 2016, four of our children were chosen to compete at the South African championships in Johannesburg. They returned after the competition with one gold medal and one bronze medal,” says Loubser.
Loubser adds that 2017 was also a good year for the team and they continued to grow. All the members of the team were chosen to compete at the South African Judo Championship in Bloemfontein in July. They returned with three gold medals and one bronze medal.
Stellar Foundation strongly believes in the benefits of sport, especially for young children. They support a number of local sports clubs by providing them with kit, equipment and travel assistance. By encouraging children to play sport, they are also encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
Stellar Foundation’s judo club is the only judo club in the Matzikama registered through Judo South Africa.
“We have a lot of plans to take judo to the next level, especially in the Matzikama. We plan to bring the West Coast Open in February 2018 to the district, and it will be an excellent financial boost for the community,” says Loubser.
More children in the area are welcome to join the judo team and get involved in the sport. According to Loubser they will establish judo clubs in the Klawer and Vredendal-Noord area in the near future due to the large amount of interest in judo and the need for more teams.
“We are very proud of the members in our judo team and their achievements in the competition,” says Loubser.
He also adds that they are planning a formal dance in September to raise money for the club to travel to George to compete at a judo competition on Saturday, 28 October.