Local karate champion represents SA in India

Hemal Heeralal jets off to India this weekend to represent South Africa

Performing at last month’s national tournament, Hemal, 15, was hopeful to be selected for the trip to India when he was placed first in Kata and third in Kumite.
“I had a good hope that I was going to place well when I had ranked high for the Kata and Kumite. I just had a gut feeling that I was going to make it,” said Hemal, a grade nine pupil at Maritzburg College.
Despite having to balance a busy training schedule and his academics, scheduling is vital for Hemal. “The balance between my academics and sport has become imbedded into my lifestyle and this is definitely a lifestyle that I love to lead. My passion for karate has made me so determined and motivated to aim for what I want to achieve. Karate and its principles teach me to be focused and have a sense of control and I instill this into my everyday life,” said Hemal.
Not only will Hemal be competing in the international Indian tournament, but he will be Dan grading for his black belt in karate which is a crucial part of Hemal’s karate career.
“The rules are different in the India tournament as fights are faster than usual and they are far more technical. I have to train extremely hard to get to where I want to be but this will make me a better all-rounder. I have been selected for both Kata and Kumite (karate forms) at the tournament and I am very excited,” expressed Hemal.
Fifteen year old Hemal trains students at the Pafta Hall in Pietermaritzburg with students ranging from four to fifteen years of age. His students have the greatest respect for Hemal as he practices the five characteristics of karate in his teaching methods.
Describing karate as a “way of life”, Hemal explained that karate describes him as an individual, makes him feel physically lighter and balances him in such a way that he has a keen sense of control at all times.
“The greatest role models I have in my life are my dad (Prishan) and my uncle (Trishaan) who always motivate me to be as successful as they are by guiding me in their foot-steps. My mum (Maggs) is my biggest driving force and she teaches me to persevere always. The love and the sense of reliability I have with my brother (Dhruv) is incredible and this teaches me that family plays a vital role in my success,” said Hemal.
Denver Subramoney and Shihan Selvan Govender, Hemal’s instructors have played a crucial role in his karate career as they have unleashed his maximum capacity. His instructors have increased his teaching abilities as a Sensei and they have exposed Hemal to different environments enabling him to learn new skills of teaching and instructing.
With the incredible support from Hemal’s school Maritzburg College, he is undoubtedly grateful for all the encouragement and motivation that the school imparts unto him on a constant basis.
His proud parents, Maggs and Prishan count it an honour and blessing to have Hemal in their lives.
“He is indeed a great motivation to others and makes us so proud when we see him imparting his skills and knowledge onto others. We wish him all the success for the future and we will continue to support him in all his endeavours,” Maggs said.

Olivia Chetty

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