PLETTENBERG BAY SPORT NEWS - Nine-year-old Galliano Boni not only kept his hometown Plettenberg Bay's flag flying high, but also did his country proud when he represented South Africa at the South American Karate Championships in Catamarca, Argentina last week.
The Grade 4 Plettenberg Bay Primary learner participated in four divisions and came home with a gold medal in each including kobudo (long weapons), kobudo (short weapons), individual kata and kumite.
"He won gold in each of the four divisions he participated in. His already vast experience on the international stage could clearly be seen and he went about his business in a professional, focused and determined way which caught the attention of everyone… He was exemplary in the manner in which he represented his country – always respectful and complimentary of his opponents' performances," his father Roberto said.
This exceptional performance adds to the string of accomplishments under his belt, including being an eight-time world champ at such a young age.
After winning silver and gold respectively at the 2019 WUKF World Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia in June and the WJKA World Championships in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape in July this year, Galliano received an invitation from the Federacion Sudamericana de Karate-Do (FSK) to attend the South American championships from 15 to 17 November.
"Unbeknownst to us, his reputation preceded him and he was literally overwhelmed by the attention he received with everyone wanting to have pictures taken with him."
At the opening ceremony Galliano presented the minister of sports, arts and culture of the province of Catamarca, with a gift of goodwill from the mayor of Plettenberg Bay, Peter Lobese. He in turn was presented with a special gift from the Karate Federation of South America.
"While language was a barrier, he formed many friendships and with broken English and Spanish they seemed to have understood each other and hopefully these friendships will develop into the future. The people of Argentina have been amazing and have treated us like royalty," said his father.
Galliano has already been invited back to participate in the next South American Championship to be held in Chile in April next year. "We will have to give it a skip as next year he has a very demanding schedule with three major tournaments taking place in the space of two weeks."
The first of these events will be American Athletics Union (AAU) Championships to be held in Orlando, USA from 25 to 28 July, the ISKA World Martial Arts Championships, also held in Orlando on 29 and 30 July where he will be representing South Africa with full Protea colours and then will fly out the following day to participate at the WUKF World Championships in Szczecin, Poland from 2 to 5 July.
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