Young karateka Noluthando Sithubeni believes winning a national title on Saturday is a step in the right direction to realising her dream of becoming a shihan.
Sithubeni, 15, clinched the title during the full-contact all styles junior and young lions national championships in Bellville, Cape Town.
Sithubeni, a Grade 11 pupil at Graceland Educational Centre in Elspark, Ekurhuleni, competed in the Under-16 category (over 50kg division).
Representing Team Gauteng (Matsushima group), Sithubeni defeated Gugu Magwaza in an all- Gauteng final. Third was Free Stater Chandre Watson.
"It's a such a great feeling to win a national title, I had trained hard. My dream is to become a shihan one day. I'm getting there," said an elated Sithubeni.
In the Under-19s (under 50kg), Rene Grower of Western Cape walked away with the main trophy after brushing aside Gauteng's Zozipho Ntshelibe.
Nomonde Makhanya from Gauteng won the Under-16s (under-50kg) title at the expense of local girl Suean Swart.
Moving to the boys section, Gauteng's Thabo Makaoli successfully defended his Under-19 (over 50kg) title when he beat teammate Thabo Tsotetsi in the final.
"We have once more proved that we are the best in karate in South Africa," said Makaoli, who hails from Thokoza.
Shihan Peter Thage, Karate South Africa publicist, said: "It was a great tournament and we used it to prepare the young karateka for international competitions."
Pepsi Shiluvane, chairman of Erkurhuleni Kyokushin-kai Karate Matsushima, said: "Our karateka were simply the best in Bellville.
"We dedicate everything we achieved there to Duma Nkosi, executive mayor of Ekurhuleni who assisted us with transport to the tournament."