Wimbledon finalist Kgothatso Montjane sets her sights on a podium finish at the Paralympic Games
Kgothatso “KG” Montjane has set her sights on a podium finish at the Paralympic Games in Japan next month, and the South African wheelchair tennis ace insisted she will celebrate whether she brings home gold‚ silver or bronze.
The 35-year-old has been riding the crest of the wave after she became the first black woman from SA to reach a Grand Slam singles final following her exploits in the Wimbledon wheelchair championship decider at the weekend.
While she lost the match 6-2‚ 6-2 to world number one Diede de Groot‚ she was content with her performance against the Dutch player as her historic march to the final has also helped tick an important personal box that is part of her plan for the Paralympics.
The global showpiece will be held between August 24 and September 5, and on Monday Montjane said her long-term plan is starting to come together.
“[Reaching the Wimbledon final] was obviously a great milestone and I have just been struggling through the hurdles‚ trying to do better as a player‚ to grow as a player and I am very happy with the performance.
“We all know that for the past four years it was all about preparing for the Paralympics. Obviously when coming into this event‚ for me I was just going in as preparation for the Paralympics because I think that is the big one.
“To have made history again is all about giving hope to my fellow Africans‚ my fellow South Africans and the country‚ to just never give up.
“We know how tennis is viewed in our country. Being out here was [also] about being an ambassador and representing the continent really‚ really well and hoping I can inspire the younger generation to never give up in taking the sport [further].
“I am grateful for what I have achieved and big up to my team for never giving up‚ for soldiering on with me during all the struggles and making sure I get to be out here and competing.
“The struggle continues and I still hope for the best."”
Montjane said the plan has always been about the Paralympics and she is happy it is slowly coming together with the global showpiece just weeks away.
“The plan was always about going to the Paralympics‚ so the first goal was to get to the Paralympics‚ making sure I am seeded and that has been ticked.
“This week for me [at Wimbledon] I was taking every match as if I was playing at the Paralympics.
“From the first match I was telling myself this might be a quarterfinal for me in the Paralympics. Getting into the last four‚ that is when I saw the podium and then the opportunity to reach the final sums it up.
“That could have been an Olympic final so I am pretty positive that finishing on the podium is possible and that has always been my goal.
“I do not care which medal I get in the Paralympics. As long as I finish on the podium I will be happy.
“This performance is such a confidence-booster for me. Going into the Paralymics I am aiming to finish on the podium no matter what colour the medal is.”