Maties Sport legend and international water polo player Lwazi Madi – on his way to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – freely admits that he would not be the player he is today if it wasn’t for the Maties Sport High Performance programme.
“The Maties Sport HP programme has taught me a lot in terms of training,” said Madi, who has been a Matie for the past seven years.
“When I first arrived at Stellenbosch University, I didn’t know much about recovery and the importance of different types of training and nutrition. In that first year, I learnt so much about myself and have watched myself develop as a player and an individual. I wouldn’t be the player I am today if it wasn’t for the Maties Sport HP programme.”
Madi made his international senior debut in 2016. He played on an international level since 2013 when he was part of the SA squad at the FINA u20 World Junior Championships.
Getting the chance to go to the ultimate sporting event, is a childhood dream being realised for the 26-year-old Madi.
“I have been dreaming about this moment since I was child. For a long period of time, I never thought I would have this opportunity. The fact that this moment has finally arrived, I can’t help but feel privileged and honoured to be going. I honestly can’t wait to compete with the best in the world.
“Being selected has the been the most unbelievable feeling. It has shown me that hard work really does pay off and that you should always pursue your dreams and work hard towards your goals and ambitions.”
Getting to experience the Olympics with other Maties in his team adds so the magic of the moment. Teammates Cameron Laurenson and Ross Stone and the Maties Men’s coach Vaughn Marlow are also off to make it big in Japan.
“Finding out that some of the Maties players had made it into the team will make the experience that much more special. We have all sacrificed a lot to get to where we are and it’s amazing to see their growth and development over the last couple of years. I cannot wait to share this experience with them. It is also special because our coach will also be there to help guide us through this journey.”
Even though no spectators or tourist activity will be possible at the first ever postponed Olympics, Madi believes the Covid-19 restrictions and protocols does not take away that this will be an experience of a lifetime.
“I want to take in the whole experience of the Olympics and just perform at my best. This team has worked so hard for such a long time and all the players are excited for this journey and we hope to be as competitive as possible against the best in the world.”
Madi says that one of the most important lessons he has learnt is to be more patient when it comes to progress. To grab every single opportunity with both hands are also vital, said Madi.
“Things don’t happen overnight; it takes time to see improvements so just keep pushing and remember what you’re training for. I have also learnt to make the most of the opportunities that you have. Since being at Maties, I have made use of the many resources offered to me to improve and develop my game and I’m so happy with the player that I have become.”