Cape Town - Since Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and SA champion Terence Balelo began competing professionally, he has been determined to fight internationally.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Balelo was unable to compete after several travel bans were instated.
Since he was a schoolboy, he was encouraged to reach international status after watching videos of his sporting idols competing.
Balelo, 21, is a fighter and personal trainer for Fighterz Inc MMA and Wellness Academy in Cape Town.
Balelo is from Swellendam and had lived on a farm with his single mother before relocating to Cape Town in 2018 when he learnt about the gym and was keen to begin MMA fighting. He spent long hours practising and dedication to the sports and won national competitions.
Balelo also began working as a waiter and barista to make ends meet when he moved to Cape Town.
“After moving to Cape Town, I had a difficult time where I had to travel to the gym from far every day. At one point, I lived inside the dojo with the consent of Sensei Fidaah Edries. I was working for the dojo.”
Balelo began Western Province trials selection last year after intense training sessions and was selected for the junior squad to represent South Africa during both the amateur and senior championships in 2020 and 2021.
He was also selected to compete in the World Championships in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan, between November 27 to December 4 but due to lockdown and the pandemic, this was not realised.
On January 24 next year, he will get an opportunity to be part of the IMMAF World Championship which will be held in Abu Dhabi.
“I work full-time as a fighter and personal trainer now. But I am not able to fund my journey.”
Balelo began a Backabuddy account to raise funds and needs R60 000 to pay for fees, flights and accommodation.
Edries said he was in need of sponsorship or donations.
“Every athlete is left to raise their own funds or get their own sponsorship,” he said. “We need the support of the community to make the dream of this boy from Swellendam possible.”
To find out more about how you can help follow this link: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/terence-balelo