PLETTENBERG BAY JARATE NEWS - Not even a global pandemic seems to be able to slow Plettenberg Bay's "ninja" from dominating the karate scene.
On 6 June, 11-year-old Galliano Boni participated in the prestigious OTW World Online Karate Championships during which 534 participants from 42 countries battled it out in a live broadcast from Malta.
Galliano won a medal in every division he participated in, including five gold, three silver and one bronze medal.
"What made this success more special is that he competed in divisions of older age groups and higher belt colours, up to 18 years and black belt respectively," said the youngster's father, Roberto Boni.
Two weeks ago, World Union of Karate-Do Federations (WUKF) announced that the 2021 World Championships in Cluj-Napoca, Romania will take place between 23 and 26 September.
Covid allowing, Galliano's place is booked and he will represent South Africa at the 9th edition of this global event, having attended the previous two in Dundee, Scotland in 2018 and Bratislava, Slovakia in 2019. The 2020 edition was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Roberto said the Covid pandemic had changed sport forever.
"Suddenly sportsmen and -women the world over were stuck in their living rooms eager to get outdoors to participate. New ways needed to be found to train and to keep in top shape. Unfortunately, many found this too challenging and sat back and did nothing, waiting for the pandemic to run its course."
He added that karate was no exception and being a contact sport it suffered more than others.
"Thankfully the challenges were identified very early on in the pandemic and a whole mind shift was needed. Galliano was given the opportunity to sit back and wait, or take on the difficult task of training virtually. He chose the latter and for the best part of the past year he has trained five days a week, right in the heart of his living room, with some of the best instructors in the world watching him through cyberspace. With this technology he was able to continue with his training schedule."
The only way that Galliano was able to compete was through online karate tournaments. Over the past year he has entered various tournaments all over the world and has raked up 30 medals (27 gold and three silver).
Between January and April this year he took part in the International Karate League for which he had to submit a kata every two weeks for 12 weeks. He narrowly missed the top spot, but managed to win a silver medal.
His performances however caught the eye of the international media. In January this year Chinese Television Global Network (CTGN) did a feature on Galliano and broadcast it to its 18-billion viewers worldwide.
While he is still young, Galliano's success has been a long time coming. In 2019, as a nine-year-old, he was awarded his full Protea colours for Sports Martial Arts, being the youngest ever to achieve this accolade.
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