Local Karateka needs help raising funds to go to Japan

Samantha Pillay’s determination towards her sporting career gave her an incredible opportunity to represent South Africa at the 16th Gichin Funakoshi Cup in Japan.

Pillay describes this experience as a dream come true, full of joy, appreciation and a strong sense of achievement.
For almost 30 years, karate has been a transformative element in Pillay’s life.

She began training with sensei Dries la Grange in Heidelberg and later obtained her third dan black belt under sensei Bruce Smith at Bassonia JKA.

In 2003, Pillay injured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee and surrounding ligaments during an all-style competition in Kimberly.

In 2011, she underwent reconstructive surgery, which allowed her to return to her sport with renewed determination in 2016.

This aspiring karateka previously represented South Africa at international competitions, including the World Championships held in France in 1997, where she won a bronze medal.

Pillay competed in the 2023 African Cup of Nations where she won bronze in kumite (fighting).

Her determination saw her get her Gauteng and SA JKA colors this month. This performance allowed her to qualify for the 16th Gichin Funakoshi Cup in Japan.

“Each competition has taught me the values ​​of dedication and perseverance that karate has taught me,” Pillay said.
With Pillay’s love and passion for karate, she opened her dojo in Alberton, where she now teaches and inspires a new generation of karate students.

The dojo is home to 17 students, two of whom wear the Gauteng and SA JKA junior colours, and they are also gold and silver medalists.

“It is incredibly rewarding to see my students grow in self-confidence, respect and discipline. Karate has not only given me strength, but also allowed me to help others.

“As I prepare for the competition in Japan, I reflect on the obstacles I have overcome and the lessons I have learned. Karate has taught me to be resilient and never give up on my goals.”

Pillay noted that her goal is to inspire others to pursue their passions, regardless of age or circumstances, and to show with faith and dedication that anything is possible.

The support she receives from her family, including her husband and two children, pushes Pillay to overcome the challenges she faces in her sporting career.

The money will help cover travel, accommodation and competition costs, allowing her to represent South Africa at this prestigious event.

Every contribution will make a significant difference in ensuring Pillay does not miss this lifelong opportunity.

Pillay has set up a BackaBuddy campaign to raise money for her and your donations are appreciated.