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Mabulu ends in top 16 at World Championships

Eastern Cape judoka Siyabulela Mabulu is back from Brazil as our top performer at the 2013 World Judo Championships, writes Mark Etheridge.

Mabulu and 2012 London Olympian Jacques van Zyl were our only two fighters at the global event.

Van Zyl competed in the -73kg category, along with 78 other fighters. “I had a bye in my first round and then in the second round came up against Sagi Muki from Israel,” he told Road to Rio 2016.

“I had a good start to the fight then made a mistake and he countered me and it was all over. But it was still a great experience and the Brazilian crowd was just great ÔÇô nice to get a taste of Rio before 2016.”

Mabulu took part in the lighter weight category of -66kg. “Going to Rio was a dream for me because I’ve always wanted to perform at the World Championships,” said Mabulu.

“When SASCOC came on board and provided me with the funding to attend I thought to myself, “this is it, this is my chance to perform on the world stage”.

“I told myself that I wouldn’t disappoint SASCOC or myself. My preparations were done at the Eastern Cape Academy of Sport and they also assisted me and facilitated funds so that I could attend a training camp in the Free State with coach Andrez Blady.

“That training camp helped me become stronger and this was evident when I qualified for the World Championships at the trials in Cape Town.”

Mabulu had a bye in the first round and went directly into the second round. “There I fought against Wander Mateo from the Dominican Republic and I won by “wazari”. I then went on to the third round and I fought against a guy from Tajikistan, Rasul Abdusharipov and won’ that by “ippon”.

“In the fourth round I was drawn against Russia’s Mihail Pulyaev and I lost that match but still ended in the top 16 overall.”

Both Van Zyl and Mabulu are now busy preparing for the Continental Championships in Mauritius in November. Says Mabulu: “It would be great to get different sparring partners to assist me with my training so I’m trying to organise that I go to Europe for a training camp. If I can get into the European cycle, I’ll then have an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics and hopefully get a medal.”