Boxing may be portrayed as a manly sport but USSA Boxing Secretary, Onalenna Tsae, is proof that women are able to take on this masculine sport with ease.
Tsae started her boxing journey in 2011 at North West University. Upon suffering from a knee injury from basketball, boxing was a better way for her to heal. In 2015 when the boxing club was without a coach, she stepped in and took the team from one level to the next.
Since taking up such a hefty task she has planted a striking seed and has felt the need to be the coach that she needed when she was still playing.
“I started focusing on getting more players to the boxing provincial elite team which to date is dominated by North West University” she says.
In 2018, the coach broke barriers by becoming the first female coach to win the USSA Boxing Championship and the first female to retain it in 2019.
“Being the first female boxing coach in the North West Province the challenges I faced were the province accepting that not only am I a woman, but also that I was the youngest coach.” – USSA Boxing Coach, Onalenna Tsae.
She has also been acknowledged as the best USSA boxing coach for a record three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019 and has furthermore been acknowledged as the best coach in the North West Province in 2018 and 2019.
As remarkable as it is to achieve such a milestone being a female boxing coach does come with its challenges, “The challenge one faces as a woman is that it’s a male dominated sport.
“You strive to be better all the time. Being the first female boxing coach in the North West Province the challenges I faced were the province accepting that not only am I a woman, but also that I was the youngest coach.
“It came with a lot of rejection from the beginning, so I had to show that I’m not trying to intimidate anyone but that I just wanted my spot in the province,” she commented.
Women continue conquering and overcoming the obstacles that were set in the past and more women today are successful in managerial and administrative roles in the sports industry.
“We need all the former female boxers to come on board and become coaches or officials.”
Tsae has been the Ngaka Modiri Molema district Chairperson, Provincial Secretary for the Open Boxing Federation and concurrently the USSA Boxing Secretary.
“That alone proves that women have natural multitasking skills and all of these positions required me to uphold my principles and find the best interest for all of them.”
With such a rollercoaster of an experience one might think that boxing is a difficult sport for females to get involved in but with women like Tsae who refuse to limit themselves, boxing contributes profoundly to women’s stories.
The nature of the sport provides them with the ability to rely on themselves in any situation and the confidence to know that they can handle anything that is thrown at them, both in the ring and at life.
But how do we get more women involved in the sport?
“As women we have the tools to make boxing simple. Here I am standing as the youngest nationally qualified female coach and it’s something I thought I couldn’t attain. We need all the former female boxers to come on board and become coaches or officials. Boxing does not stop in the ring. Giving back is essential,” she says.
In the USSAWomenUP campaign which is about upholding all profound women that make a difference in their sporting codes, Tsae stated that she believes that one of the greatest traits women have is that they are naturally caring and motivational; it comes with ease and affects being able to sacrifice for the team and team work in a phenomenal way.
When asked about female boxers that need to be placed on the radar she mentioned Bathabile Zigubu who turned pro, was in Team SA and played in the African Games, Ellen Simwaka a pro fighter and 2018 WBF International Bantamweight winner and Gabriella Drewery an amateur boxer from Western Cape whom she feels deserves to be in Team SA after winning a gold medal at the 2018 national championships.
Photo 1 Caption: USSA Boxing General Secretary Onalenna Tsae. Photo: Supplied / Onalenna Tsae
Photo 2 Caption: NWU Boxing Coach Onalenna Tsae preparing three-time USSA Champion and 2019 North West Sportswoman of the Year, Lemogang Moote. Photo: @toy_captures
Photo 3 Caption: Onalenna Tsae received the Best Coach Award along with Federation of the Year at the North West Sports Awards 2019. Photo: Supplied / Onalenna Tsae
With editing by gsport