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MATSAPHA – Hard work pays off.

Taekwondo artists Carlota Munavo and 13-year-old Bongumusa Mkhatshwa were yesterday honoured by the Minister of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga for their exceptional performances in the African Senior Taekwondo Championships held in  Kigali Rwanda last week. Munavo brought home a bronze medal and Mkhatshwa scooped silver. The junior athlete’s achievement carries a E5 000 incentive and E3 000 for Munavo’s bronze medal. Bulunga said awarding of podium finishes were as per the Eswatini Government policy.  He commended the athletes for their achievements and encouraged them to thrive in international competitions. He further thanked the duo’s parents for their continuous support as they also graced the presentation ceremony.

“Our two athletes will be receiving a total of E8 000 in Government incentives. This is the Government’s way of recognising and appreciating the excellence of our athletes,” Bulunga said. The athletes were assured to receive their money through electronic transfer before the end of next week. The athletes expressed their gratitude to the Government of Eswatini, their coaches, clubs and parents and everyone who supported their dream. Mkhatshwa, who would be sitting for his external Standard V examination at St Michael’s Primary School thanked the school teachers who promised to give him special extra classes for academic excellence to pair up with athleticism.

“I want to thank my parents, my teachers, my coach and Fitness Zone Gym for the support that they showed me. It is not easy but I try by all means to do my best in the sport and in school. I have a lot of medals already and I wish to take my career internationally and represent Eswatini on grander competitions,” said the shining youngster. Munavo highlighted some of the challenges that drove her to the edge of throwing in the towel. She highlighted that the suspension of sports due to COVID-19 also saw her gaining weight and failing to get opponents. She thanked her mother Zodwa Mdluli who believed in her and motivated her through the challenging experiences.

“It hasn’t been easy and I recall contemplating going back home and abandoning my trip to a competition but my mother was there for me and showed me support like no other. Thank you to the Government of Eswatini and everyone who has helped me financially and otherwise to make my dream a reality,” Munavo said. Eswatini Taekwondo Federation (ATF) President Zakhele Dlamini also commended the athletes for their achievement which he said was an inspiration to others.

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