TUKS judokas Michaela Whitebooi and Charne Griesel with two of the children they are teaching judo to, with a view to bringing about a healthy change in their lifestyles. African News Agency (ANA)
THE University of Pretoria (Tuks) judokas are doing their bit for the community and keeping the youth active and healthy.

They are worried that many children of 8 and younger are not doing enough exercise, leading to obesity.

Two of Tuks’s foremost judokas, Michaela Whitebooi and Charne Griesel, have decided to see if, in some small way, they can help bring about change in children’s lifestyles.

As both of them believe that an active body leads to a healthy mind, they decided that they wanted to coach youngsters.

“I see it as a win-win situation, both for judo and from a health perspective.

“The number of participants in judo has been on the decline for quite a few years.

“When I started doing judo, there were all sorts of club and provincial tournaments we could compete in, but not any more. It is mainly because there are fewer judokas who are actively participating,” said Griesel.

Whitebooi said that, at first, winning competitions and becoming champions would be the last thing kids would have to worry about.

“It is all going to be about having fun. The kids should enjoy themselves on the mats. If they do, there is a real chance that they might get addicted to an active lifestyle. If that happens, it would be great.

“I have been told that you learn the most when you are having fun, so our coaching is not going to be that technical. The kids should just learn the basic moves and do some exercises that will improve their flexibility.”

The Tuks judoka has no hesitation in saying that the sport has changed her life for the better.

Because she came from a poor background, there was a real chance that she would never get the opportunity to study. However, her judo talent was spotted and that changed her life.

Last year, she completed her BCom Financial Science degree at Tuks and she is now busy with post-graduate studies. African News Agency (ANA)