Cape Town - A Woodstock woman has grappled her way on to the international stage with the hopes of making it to the Paris Olympic Games.
Matilda Kokera, a 19-year-old amateur wrestler, has been chosen to represent South Africa at the African Continental Championships and the African and Oceania Olympic Games Qualifiers in Egypt, which will take place from March 14 to 19 and March 22 to 24, respectively.
“I am aspiring to become the first female in SA to represent our nation. I have poured immense effort and dedication into my craft,” Kokera said.
Growing up in Phumlani village, the 9-time SA champion and 9-time Western Province champ started her wrestling journey seven years ago after the Goodwood Wrestling Club opened a hub at the Lotus River Civic Centre.
“We saw them wrestling and they kindly invited us to join in. They saw consistency and dedication. They found potential in us and eventually asked us if we would like to attend their bigger club in Goodwood.
“From there I developed a passion for wrestling. My whole life revolves around it and constantly bettering myself at it. I genuinely find joy in being on the mat. It’s a safe space for me,” Kokera said.
However, Kokera’s dream of making it big hangs in the balance as she needs R57 000 to make the trip, which will cover her plane ticket, accommodation, team clothing, competition licence, and insurance.
“To make this dream a reality, I require support with an estimated cost. This financial barrier is one that many athletes face, and your generosity as sponsors can make a significant impact,” she said.
“Your support will not only fuel my journey, but will also recognise the sacrifices and passion invested in this pursuit.”
Simon Abrahams from the Goodwood Wrestling Club adds that Matilda’s success was something in the making.
“Everyone at the club is excited about this, she was one of the younger girls who joined us in 2017.
“We are pleading because we don’t want it to come to a stage where she can’t go anymore because of funds,” Abrahams said.
Anyone who can donate can contact Matilda at 064 922 7747.