Esona Sekeleni is the latest viral sensation to capture the hearts of South Africans.
UPDATE: Since launching her crowdfunding campaign, Esona Sekeleni has received R18 545 in donations, around 15% of her R120 000 goal.
The young biathlete also attracted the attention of Finance Minister Fikile Mbalula and Biz and Leisure, a travel consultancy which has offered to handle Sekeleni’s travel documentation needs at no cost.
At this time, the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture has yet to step in and assist the 10-year-old.
Who is Esona Sekeleni?
The 10-year-old biathlete and swimmer is only months away from realising her dream of representing her country at the world championships in Portugal later this year.
Sekeleni, birthed and raised by her single mother, Sandy, is a determined and hardworking young lady whose journey to the world championships was not an easy feat.
According to our research, Sekeleni started first fell in love with biathlon, a strength-intensive sport that involves swimming and running, early in her childhood. In fact, Sandy has been moulding her daughter into a top-draw athlete for years, with the earliest signs of promise seen when she excelled at the Hercules Bootcamp in 2020.
“COVID happened and we went into lockdown. During that time she never stopped training and did aerobics and followed a good diet with her family, all prepared by her mom,” her crowdfunding page reads.
Sekeleni surfaced in January 2022 to participate in her first pro biathlon. She did well in the Border trials and showed marked improvement in a race she partook in a month later.
Then, her life changed when she excelled, representing the Border region, at the South African biathlon championships. Her performance earned the 10-year-old a spot at the regionals, where she, once again, showcased her remarkable talent and won a place in the SA Championship finals in Stellenbosch.
The nationals took place in May 2022, and, of course, Sekeleni’s performance earned her a spot in an eight-member team of young South Africans who, between 26 and 31 October 2022, will represent the country at the 2022 Biathle World Championships in Machico, Madeira Island, Portugal.
While some of the travelling costs will be absorbed by the South African Modern Pentathlon Association (SAMPA), Sekeleni’s mom will have to foot the bill for her entry fees, air travel, accommodation, transportation, visas and passports, competition clothing and other sundry expenses.
How to help Esona represent SA in Portugal
Using the power of social media, Sekeleni’s mom has since launched a crowdfunding campaign, seeking a total of R120 000 in donations which will cover:
- Flights for VISA
- Local accommodation for VISA
- Registration for the race
- Transport to and from the airport
- Local transport
- Petty cash
Already, Sekeleni has achieved 10% of her crowdfunding goal with 12 days remaining until her Candy Stick campaign expires.