Home South African SA judo champion stabbed to death by ‘jealous gangsters’

SA judo champion stabbed to death by ‘jealous gangsters’

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Preston Davids, 29, of Bellville was the reigning African Judo Champion in the under-60kg weight class and was stabbed to death in the early hours of Monday morning.

fShawn Kearney and Preston Davids of Judo South Africa showcase some of their moves during the martial arts demontsration day hosted by the Embassy of Japan. Preston was killed on Monday morning. File image. Picture: Masi Losi

THE MARTIAL arts community is in mourning following the murder of an African titleholder this week.

Preston Davids, 29, of Bellville was the reigning African Judo Champion in the under-60kg weight class and was stabbed to death in the early hours of Monday morning.

According to his aunt, Amanda Jones, Preston was at a local clubhouse two streets away from their home in Wesso Street to watch his younger brother Grant, 27, and their cousins play in an informal pool tournament, which started on Sunday.

It is understood a known “troublemaker” who had previously “messed” with Preston arrived and tried to pick a fight with him but was thrown out.

This man and a relative allegedly ripped off the windscreen wipers from Preston and Grant’s car, and then wanted to attack their cousin with knives.

Preston decided to intervene, but the two men ganged up on him and he was stabbed to death in Stilwaney Crescent shortly after 3am.

A heartbroken Amanda says: “Grant came back and told us that he was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.”

She says Preston would have represented South Africa at the Olympics had the coronavirus not led to the cancellation of the event this year.

Preston also trained youngsters in Bellville South.

Preston, Grant and their 17-year-old brother were left orphaned after their mother died four years ago. Their father passed away 26 years ago.

Godfrey Kleinsmith, the coach of the national judo Olympic team, says Preston was very talented and he started training the champ when he was just nine years old.

He says Preston was like a son to him and he believes he was killed by jealous gangsters.

“This was about jealousy, man,” Kleinsmith said. “He was such a star, and the people loved him.

“What happens in this community is when you are a role-model, a skollie (gangster) will always try to kill you. This then helps them to go up the rank.”

The young judoka won the gold medal at the South African Open in 2013 and bronze at the Commonwealth Championships in 2016.

Amanda says one of Preston’s favourite moments was when he helped train Hollywood star Vin Diesel for the movie Bloodshot that was filmed in Cape Town in late 2018.

The film was released in cinemas in March this year.

“He trained the Fast and the Furious guy for a movie here in Cape Town. Preston cherished that opportunity and it was one of the best moments in his life,” says Amanda.

“He travelled around the globe doing Judo and his last overseas trip was to Japan in 2017.”

Bellville South SAPS arrested two people for Preston’s murder, confirmed Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana.

“Two suspects ages 26 and 28 were arrested and appeared at Bellville Magistrate’s Court,” she says.