South African Olympian, Michaela Whitebooi, may not be walking away with a fairy tale book ending her debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but she has taken memories and valuable lessons to keep embarking on her Judo journey.

The 25-year-old bowed out of the competition after a defeat to Paula Pareto of Argentina in round of 32. Whitebooi took to Instagram to share her heart felt gratitude on her Olympic journey.

“No athlete ever dreams of failing. No athlete ever dreams of working for so many years and in one fight it is all gone. A lesson I learnt from this Olympic Games is no athlete ever wants to just be a number, we always want to succeed. I was blessed with a world class opportunity; one I will never ever forget.”

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Whitebooi continued to express her gratitude of being able to represent South Africa at the highest athletic level and an honour she will not take for granted. She further went on to thank those who have walked the journey with her thus far.

“No words can describe how grateful I am to call you my coach. No amount of money can ever repay you Bossman for the amount of time and effort you invest into my life. We had a rocky journey to get to the Olympic Games 2020. I failed myself and you so many times, but you remained to believe in me even more than I believe in myself.”

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“All the way from TuksSport High School. Who would have thought we would end up going to Olympic Games 2020 together. Kayla, I want to thank you for being by my side and getting me ready to compete at the highest level of competition. You are a great person in and out of your physio practice, thank you for your friendship,” she concluded.

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Photo 1 Caption: South Africa’s Judo star, Michaela Whitebooi, pictured at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Photo: Michaela Whitebooi (Instagram)