GABORONE, Botswana, May 2020/ — Judo is generally categorized as modern martial art, which has since evolved into a combat and Olympic sport. The sport was created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano as a physical, mental and moral pedagogy in Japan. Judo’s most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or take down an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defences are a part of judo.
The aforementioned description might he implausible for any Motswana kid particularly that our primary schooling is dominated by netball, volleyball and football and every pupil have to find passion in them. However, 19-year-old Maatla Serokoma had other ambitions in becoming the country’s top judo star. We recently had a banter with the Molepolole-born lad…
Good to finally talk to you, surprisingly many kids are about netball and football. If they want to be adventurous, they do karate. But you went for judo, why?
For me growing up in sport have kind of been an adventurous journey filled with wonders of glory and disappointments. As a kid I was a kind of a kid whom was viewed as ill-mannered before the eyes of many but all that was before I took the journey under the world of sport. I did like playing football as well but this was before I figured out that I had more passion for fighting sports because I grew up as an aggressive kid who liked to start up unnecessary fights in the streets as well as at school and I did enjoy watching violent movies especially Chinese martial art movies like the 3 ninja kids, karate kid and many more. I think all this kind of channelled me into playing the sport of judo because this was the first martial art sport which I got exposed to at first and I got to know about it from my little brother, the most glorious thing I like about sport is that you get a chance to travel to new places and get a chance to meet new faces of people and make good friends and sports it kind of just naturally instil discipline in people and judo has taught me to be an all rounded person whom knows how to respect other people’s opinions and views without turning to violence when situations seems uneven, it taught me how to be still and surpass my anger issues or temper. Judo to me it’s kind of a way of life because I’m what I’m because of judo and it’s a part of me and I’m a part of judo, many people who don’t know judo think that it’s quite a dangerous sport but actually the truth is judo is the most safest martial art sport across the globe for all genders
Quite elaborative, but many will opt for karate as it’s more close to home…
Yes, indeed judo is quite a new sport here in Botswana but the truth is it’s been there for some time. In 1909 judo was recognised as an Olympic sport, I got to know about judo from my little brother, he is the one who inspired me to join the sport of judo since he got to know about it first. My first experience in the judo mat was quite fun but also a bit embarrassing as I was forced to submit before smaller boys and girls whom were younger than me due to technical experience in a contest (laughs).
Surely you never looked back, and your progress has stood up. What’s your golden goal?
My ambitions for the Olympics is to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics games and to go out there and give the best performance of my life and hopefully to win a gold medal at the Olympics and so as to bring honour, dignity and pride to my country. To have a chance to give Batswana a reason to believe in ‘no matter how tall the mountain gets we shall always emerge strong together if we stay united in supporting and pursuing our dreams together as a nation.’
You speak with so much authority, like you’re already planning ahead of time…
My dreams beyond playing is that I would like to retire at the peak of my performance and would love to go into business and real estate as well as the airline industry because I love to fly and of course I would like to give back to the society the little knowledge I would have gained in my world of sport.
Sport has become essential to healthy living, what is your advice out there for the youth who are not active…
To the non-active youth all I can say is that sport is the best way of recreation as well as keeping fit. Sport can help to prevent you guys from suffering from lifestyle diseases and deficiencies and is essential for your state of being as it tends to refresh your body and mind and this will help you to develop a focused state of mind in pursuing your dreams.
Commonwealth judo championships 2016 bronze medallist-55kg cadets
Commonwealth judo championships 2018 bronze medallist-60kg juniors
Commonwealth judo championships 2018 bronze medallist-60kg seniors
Botswana judo federation inter club tournaments:
Botswana games 2017 Gold medallist-60kg
AUSC region 5 games 2016: 5th place-55kg
AUSC region 5 games 2018: 5th place-60kg
AUSC region 5 games 2018 team fights bronze medallist
2014 South African judo championships: 4th place pre-cadet
2017 South African judo championships: 5th place-60kg cadet