When Aden Petersen started doing karate after he was bullied, little did he know he would be number one in his category, bagging a gold medal and flying off to compete in Croatia.
Aden, 14, from Tafelsig, flies off to Croatia to compete in the International Karate Championship on Saturday June 29. He still needs to raise R10 000 for his trip.
When Aden was in Grade 3, children at school started bullying him and taking away his things.
He was nine when he started doing karate so that he could learn to defend himself.
“The scar on my arm looks like a tattoo in the shape of a figure 8. I got the scar when I was bullied. I want to change the world with karate, I want to show those in my community that this can help you,” said Aden.
Last year, however, he considered giving up karate as he was scared he was going to get hurt, but his grandmother, Serita Petersen, 52, encouraged him to continue with it, he said.
Aden’s mentor and coach, Aiden Jackson, 19, who is part of Aden’s karate club in Portland, is his inspiration.
Aden’s mother Anthea Diamond, 34, said Aden was very good in kumite – fighting against an opponent – and often brought home gold.
Ms Petersen left her job in January 2015 to help Aden with his karate journey, but soon the family started struggling financially and at the end of that year, Aden had stop training due to financial constraints.
Three months later, however, he was back when a family member offered to pay his karate fees – and has been steadily improving.
While he has competed in Durban and Johannesburg, he had to pass on the opportunity to compete in Botswana last year due to a lack of funding.
“Aden was very sad but he understood why,” said Ms Diamond. “It’s not nice to see your child sad when he cannot compete.
“He is growing and improving in his category. I do not want him to fall in the trap of gangsterism,” she said.
Ms Petersen said she accompanies Aden on some of his competitions and tours.
“He continues to inspire the children in the street with his karate skills. They are so excited to see him go. I refuse for my grandson to be involved in gangsterism,” said Ms Petersen.
“Thank you to all those who supported Aden on his journey, it means the world to him,” Ms Diamond added.
If you would like to help Aden on his trip to Croatia, contact his mom Ms Diamond at 084 765 8566.