By Caoilte de Barra
Mixed Martial Arts South Africa held its national championships from July 21 – 24. The federation recently hosted the 2022 IMMAF Africa Championships, where they topped the medal table. MMASA built on that momentum with the national event, which took place at the Brakpan Indoor Sports Centre.
Athletes were selected to represent their province after attending trials and working with provincial coaches in preparation. The tournament had divisions open for both juniors and seniors. In some junior divisions, athletes without any opposition took gold and moved up to the senior division in order to get a match-up.
Gauteng Province topped the medal table with an extraordinary twenty-three medals in total, thirteen gold, four silver and six bronze. The province was closely followed by KwaZulu-Natal’s tally of nineteen medals overall, five of which were gold.
Nicole Van Wyk and Kiara Fegen added a national gold to their accolades three months on from their continental success. Both athletes initially entered the junior category but were left without a match-up and stepped up to senior, where they both took gold in their respective divisions.
A similar scenario unfolded in the stacked bantamweight division, where junior entree Willie Van Rooyen stepped up to senior and top the podium.
In the heavyweight division, Johan Van Schaik upset Andile Madlaba in the final by defeating the continental heavyweight gold medalist. He joined Throne Msibi in winning gold for the Mpumalanga province.
Following the event, MMASA President Raymond Phillips gave his thoughts on the event: “MMASA Nationals were a great success with some challenges. I feel the standard of athletes in South Africa, as well as Africa, is picking up in leaps and bounds. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these warriors.”
Gold medalists from the competition put themselves in a prime position to represent South Africa on the international stage. A full list of medalists from the 2022 South Africa Amateur MMA Championships can be found here.