A young wrestler from Phumlani Village has ambitions to make her family and country proud by qualifying and competing in the Olympic Games in Paris, France, this year.
Amateur wrestler Matilda Korega, 19, walked into Lotus River civic centre about seven years ago out of curiosity because she saw people walking into the facility and decided to investigate with her friends.
Inside she saw children sparring and wrestling – being a bit of a tom-boy, said Matilda, she instantly fell in love with the sport.
At the time, the Goodwood Wrestling Club had a hub at the civic centre and invited her and her friends to join. The coaches saw Matilda’s dedication because she attended every training session and her potential and officially invited her to the bigger club.
Since then she has won nine Western Province and nine South African championships.
Matilda said her passion for wrestling developed from there and she made wrestling her main priority: “My whole life revolves around it and constantly bettering myself at it. I genuinely find joy being on the mat and it is a safe space for me.”
The Zeekoevlei High School alumni was chosen to represent South Africa at the African Continental Championships and the African and Oceania Olympic Games Qualifiers in Egypt in March and is the top female wrestler in her weight category in the country.
She said her biggest goal is to become the first female to represent the country at the Paris Olympics in July and August.
In order to make her dream a reality, she needs to partake in the qualifier event from Thursday March 14 to Tuesday March 19 and Friday March 22 to Sunday March 24 and needs R57 000 to cover her airfare, accommodation, local transport, team clothing, licences and insurance.
Matilda is appealing for help from companies, organisations and anyone willing to contribute to her dreams.
“It would mean so much to me to be able to attend. The financial barrier is one that many athletes face and your generosity as a sponsor can make a significant impact. Your support will not only fuel my journey but also recognise the sacrifices and passion invested in the pursuit and as a reality I envisage myself in the South African team at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Your support no matter the amount will be sincerely appreciated,” she said.
To help Matilda with her Olympic dream contact her directly on 064 922 7747 or donate on her BackaBuddy page.