South Africa’s top Wheelchair Tennis ace Kgothatso Montjane arrived home to a hero’s welcome on Monday morning when she arrived at OR Tambo International Airport from the UK following her Wimbledon success.
Montjane broke into tears when she walked through the gates of the international arrivals terminal and was greeted by a crush of fans, family, supporters and media.
“This is very emotional moment for me, especially with my family and friends here. It’s such a great feeling,” commented emotional Montjane during press conference at OR Tambo.
“The past few weeks have been hectic, but the experience was incredible with participation at The All England Lawn Tennis Club being a highlight. Thank you to everyone for the love during the past few weeks,” added Montjane.
Montjane made her debut at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in London and made history becoming the first black South African woman to play at Wimbledon.
En-route to the prestigious Wimbledon event, Montjane extended her title-winning streak at the Swiss Open, securing her fourth title in Geneva, Switzerland.
She was awarded a wild card to the grass-court tournament, and impressed fans as she fought commendably to secure a quarter-final win over the former world no. 6 player, Katharina Kruger from Germany.
The 32-year-old from Limpopo then bravely challenged the defending champion and world number one Diede de Groot from the Netherlands in the semi-final but lost to the top seed 1-6 5-7.
Women Development Bank (WDB) Trust Chief Executive Officer Nomgqibelo Mdlalose lauded Montjane and said they are proud to be associated with her.
“Thank you to Kgothatso Montjane for the incredible achievements. What I appreciate about her is her hard work and resilience – that’s what attracted us to her. WDB Trust Founder and Patron Mrs Zanele Mbeki and myself love tennis, it resonated with the sport we love and the character she is. We are very proud to be associated with Kgothatso, and congratulate her for what she has achieved,” said Mdlalose who made Montjane’s trip to the UK possible following a generous funding from WDB Trust.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa – Chairperson of the Board Muditambi Ravele said they will continue to work hard and elevate the sport in South Africa.
“We are very proud of Kgothatso for going out there to represent the country even without the necessary support due to our current financial constraints. This was a great experience for her and she performed very well. We will continue to work hard to ensure that she has the right team with her next time when she travels to prestigious tournaments like this. Thank you Kgothatso for representing us and we hope other companies can see through your strength and come on board to support the sport,” commented Ravele.
Gauteng MEC of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Ms Faith Mazibuko also applauded Montjane for her sterling performance during an interview with eNCA at the airport, “Kgothatso did us proud at Wimbledon. This is an inspiration to others, as it proves that we can take a center stage even at the international level. It is such an excitement that she becomes the first South African black woman to take part at Wimbledon, and a true reflection that Gauteng, as we always say it is the home of champions – she is one of our champions”.
“We hope this encourages many young people that it is possible to participate in a sport irrespective of age, gender and your classification. Congratulations to Kgothatso and we wish her well on her journey,” added Mazibuko.