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Tears of the Sun /

Between Pretoria and Ulaanbaatar there are 17,027 kilometres. Geronay Whitebooi travelled from the South African capital to the Mongolian capital with two goals in mind: get through the first round and don’t disappoint.

Geronay Whitebooi in blue judogi

At 3:48 p.m. local time, Geronay is in a flood of tears. She can’t contain them, she doesn’t breathe well either. Hers is not a physical problem, but a mental one, even a spiritual one. The South African has just put on her best performance on the World Judo Tour, but it has a bitter aftertaste. Her seventh place in the -48kg category is an achievement that does not elicit a smile from this 26-year-old woman. Her eyes shine brightly, they look like the tears of the sun. 

“I was tired of losing in the first round,” she says, “but there was very little missing, almost nothing, a detail to win my second…

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