Ndyebo Lamani, from Peddie, Eastern Cape was born partially blind and wears the highest grade in judo, black belt. He been ranked the best judo athlete in South Africa, in the under the 66-kilogram category for people living with disabilities, since 2011 and has qualified to take part in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympics.
He started judo in 2010 at the Khanyisa School for the Blind in Port Elizabeth. “I started doing the sport because I love a challenge and it gave me a chance to prove that living with a disability is no reason to not achieve one’s dreams,” said Lamani. He says the modern martial arts sport, stopped him from making bad decisions. When looking at his peers and the path they took, he said judo gave him discipline and a sense of wrong and right. “As a teenager, I was ill-disciplined. Judo helped me to correct my ways,” he said.
Lamani participated in his first tournament in 2011 and took home a bronze medal. He has since represented South Africa at tournaments in various countries, including Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Germany and Portugal. “I have also won the Eastern Cape Sportsman of the Year for two consecutive years,” Lamani said.
He did well in these tournaments securing him a spot in the top 10, accumulating good points which helped him qualify for the Paralympics which take place from 25 August to 6 September. Before jetting off to the Paralympics, Lamani will be enhancing his judo skills by taking part in tournaments in Japan, Great Britain and Azerbaijan and encouraging young people to follow their dreams.