Judo Sport

Aaron Banda: A great judo champion in the making

IF there is any Zambian sport that has brought many medals at whatever level is Judo.
The popularity of judo is not just based on the fact that it is widely practiced in the country but the legacy the sport has created as one of the country’s most accomplished when it comes to international assignments.
Be it regional, continental or indeed global competitions, judokas have rarely come back home empty handed.
In fact, judo was one of the contributors of the only two bronze medals Zambia came back with from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games while the other was from boxing.
Judoka Boas Munyonga and boxer Ben Muziyo won bronze medals.
When Zambia hosted the 2012 Supreme Council for Sport in Africa Zone Six Games, judo contributed a larger part of medals than any other sport.
Just recently, Zambia scooped the first position at the Southern African Judo Confederation in Swaziland bagging 19 medals from the 19 representatives the country sent.
Out of the 19, 14 were gold, four silver and a bronze beating South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Angola and hosts Swaziland.
Among the emerging judo stars is 15-year old Aaron Banda who has already made it to the national team.
Born on March 18, 2000, Aaron is in grade eight at Mandevu High School in Lusaka.
He is the last born in a family of four and resides in Chipata Overspill.
Aaron specifically chose judo for a sport because he believes it will help him achieve his dreams of becoming a soldier.
“When I complete my secondary school I want nothing but to become a soldier. It is something I always dream of and I feel judo will greatly help me achieve my dream. It is a sport that requires a lot of discipline and physical strength,” he says.
Aaron embarked on his judo career at 10 years.
He was one of the first youths to use the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) when it was just opened in 2010.
“I chose judo because I believe that is where my talent lies and it is an interesting sport,” he says.
Aaron has been consistent in the Samsung Youth Challenge competition that has seen a lot of youngsters progress to various national teams in different sports disciplines.
He believes judo has not only made him a good sports personality but made him realise the importance of discipline.
Aaron attended national trials at the Lusaka’s Central Sports Club early this year where he impressed national coaches and eventually won a position in the national team.
“It is not easy to be in the national team and I am privileged to get a place. This calls for more hard work and I will ensure I put in extra effort to ensure I maintain my position and ably represent the country at international tournaments,” he says.
Aaron is inspired by Zambia’s most accomplished judoka Mathews Punza.
“I am just inspired by the way he carries himself and the achievements he has scored so far. To me, he has all the inspirational qualities anyone would like to have. My mother Sara Banda is yet another person who I look up to. She has supported me and my other three siblings. She has provided for all our needs and I want to make her happy someday,” he says.
For comments: dmutakafimbo@daily-mail.co.zm

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