by Gregory Simpson

Karate champ needs sponsors to compete

One-on-one with Natalie Faint

Natalie Faint attempts a near perfect head-kick during a karate tournament.

South African karate champion, Natalie Faint is battling to get sponsorship to cover her upcoming tournaments in Greece and Tunisia, let alone the world champs in Spain at the end of the year.

Valuable life sports like karate are being diluted from the extra curricular schedule of many young lives.

Forced to put on a last minute Golf Day at Westlake Golf Club to raise funds, South Africa’s best female knock-out artist - and current current KSI Karate World Champion in Kata and Kumite - is barely able to compete against the best from the rest of the world.

Gregory Simpson caught up with the 16-year-old Capetonian recently for more on the likable teenager from Reddam House College - who’d most likely kick your butt.

Do not be fooled by the blonde hair either, she throws a lethal head-kick.

Please tell me a bit about yourself, how you got into karate and rose to become the national champion.

I am a strong, determined, committed and confident person because of karate.

I got into karate because my parents decided to send to me to release a bit of my energy at a martial art as a child.

I started in kick boxing and moved onto karate as it was closer to home.

I rose to become national champion due to my strong personality, being super competitive, my determination to succeed and my commitment to become the best.

All the days spent training and pushing through them, the sacrifice of not spending time with friends and even sleep made me the national champ. 

Is enough being done to promote karate in schools? 

I don't think so, karate isn't that big in schools, if someone was to do karate in school and achieve a high level of it and promote it, like I do, I'm sure then people would want to start and explore this beautiful sport.

What does it offer that mainstream sports do not?

Karate offers the teaching of discipline, focus, confidence, determination and commitment in a person. It helps to improve your natural sport ability and it also improves your academics. This sport offers the adrenaline in a fight and in the competing, it offers a change in person and it offers a new passion to indulge in.

Olympic gold must be a dream, how much of it is mental vs physical when competing?

Olympic gold was a dream but the International Olympic Committee has voted it out of the Olympics sports model for 2020 despite much international campaigning.

But now my dream is to achieve gold at the world championships in Spain at the end of the year.

It all comes down to how you are on the day, if you've had enough sleep, eaten enough, stretched and warmed up properly.

If I had to say mental vs physical on the day, it all comes down to your mental capability to deal with opponents, intimidation and your competition patterns and experience.

Your ambitions for the next 12 months, and which competitions are you preparing for?

I have two more international competitions to compete in this year, but unfortunately I don't have sponsors and will need some to be able to compete at the highest level of karate which is the world championships in Spain at the end of the year.

Unfortunately, it would seem as if the top karateka do not get funding to compete overseas, hence I have to find sponsorships to be able to compete.

My mom has recently organised a Golf Day which has allowed me to compete on Greece this coming week.

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