Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S top judoka Sydney Mutero is brimming with confidence ahead of this week’s South African Championships in Port Elizabeth where he hopes to be among the top finishers. The championships that features athletes of various age-groups kicks-off tomorrow with the juniors competition. The seniors will then fight for honours on Friday.
Mutero will be joined by Moses Mutendi and they are scheduled to leave for South Africa today by road ahead of their event on Friday. They will compete in the Under-90kg and Under-73kg respectively.
Mutero, who is the top fighter in the Under-90kg, said he is banking on experience after having represented the country in a number of continental events including the African Games in 2011 and 2015 (then known as All-Africa Games). “I am Zimbabwe’s number one in my weight category and I also compete in the Open weight. But for this one, I have been preparing for my specific weight category. I have been preparing for this competition since last year when I participated in the same championships.
“In last year’s event I lost both my fights on points, it was my first year competing in the heavyweight division, so it was a learning experience. But now with my experience I am going for gold. I am giving it everything I have got, so I am going for the podium,” said Mutero.
The 26-year-old graduated into the Under-90kg weight division last year. Previously he was competing in the Under-73kg and Under-81kg.
Mutero said he is looking beyond the regional events with his focus being the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
“My aim I am mainly targeting to go to the Olympics. So I am targeting to go to every tournament where I will get points to the Olympics. I intend to stay in the Under-90kg until the 2020 Olympic Games,” said Mutero. While he has set his eyes on the Olympics, Mutero is also hoping to be part of the athletes that will converge in Baku, Azerbaijan, for the World Championships in September.
National teams’ coach Simbarashe Mashayi said Mutero and Mutendi are some of the judokas they have included in their plans for future major competitions and is positive they will do well in South Africa.