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Help Alberton JKA Karatake get to Japan for the Funakoshi Gichin Cup 16th Karate World Championship Tournament

Alberton JKA Karate is pleading with the community and everyone to please lend a hand and help one of their rising Karate stars raise funds for his trip to Japan.

Katlego Mokebe (22) is a karateka with Alberton JKA Karate and is set to compete in the SA SAJKA trials on June 1.

He hopes to be selected to represent South Africa at the Funakoshi Gichin Cup 16th Karate World Championship Tournament in Japan in October.

Mokebe desperately needs R25 000 to pay as a deposit for his trip to Japan. The money has to be paid on June 1, and he has raised R5 000 so far.

All selected competitors will be required to pay an R30 000 deposit for the trip, with the total cost likely to be around R45 000, including entry fees of about R3 000 and team kit estimated at R1 000.

He will also require some spending money to get water and other necessities. All of this brings him to a total of R50 000 he needs to raise.

According to his coach Karyn Smith, only five men will be chosen for the kumite (fighting) team. “We are confident that Katlego will be among them. He is incredibly talented and has had a successful track record for many years. His Unison Kata team is also well-positioned for selection.”

Katlego Mokebe (black belt) during the SAJKA Gauteng Championships at Ellis Park Indoor Stadium. Photo:Supplied

Mokebe has been saving for around 18 months because he believes he has a good chance of making it to the senior team that will represent SA at the Funakoshi Gichin Cup.

He is a student, and his family is not financially strong enough to assist him with the funds he requires. He is left with only one day to raise the remaining R25 000 for the balance of the deposit needed on June 1.

“Our dojo is doing fundraising as much as possible, but we have about 11 members who are likely to make the team. Some of them are also not in a great financial position and we need to assist those who need it as far as we can,” said Smith.

Mokebe is studying sports management at the University of Johannesburg. He is a prominent competitor in the open men’s elite (black belt) division.

Katlego Mokebe was part of the SA team that won the Nationals at SAJKA early this month. Photo: Supplied

He is ranked third in the country for kumite fighting and consistently in the top eight for kata. He is also a member of the Unison Kata team, which has a great chance of qualifying for the World Championships.

Mokebe’s coach recognised him as one of the most hardworking individuals and lauded him for his commitment to his sporting career.

“He does not have transport and relies on taxis to get him where he needs to be. Sometimes he arrives at the dojo having run 2km from where the taxi drops him so he can be on time, bearing in mind that he is at the dojo at 6:30 am on Saturdays and 7:30 am on Sundays.

This is quite a show of discipline and dedication. In addition to his usual black belt weekday training, he also does a further five to six hours of competition-specific training on the weekends and an extra hour at night every week for Unison Kata with his teammates.

“We are desperately trying to raise the money for him as we simply cannot cover his costs entirely. It would be devastating for him not to be able to attend the World Champs solely due to financial difficulties.

“We never usually appeal to people or organisations directly for assistance and we have a few students in a similar situation, but not quite as dire a situation. We feel that Katlego is very special and we, therefore, will do everything we possibly can to assist him.

“Katlego’s immediate concern is the deposit he will need on the June 1. However, the balance will likely have to be paid by the end of June or mid-July,” explained Smith.

Alberton JKA Karate has made a BackABuddy campaign to help Mokebe raise funds for his trip to Japan.

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