UWC sprinter Tamzin Thomas donned the traditional green and gold tracksuit of the SA Universities team when she caught the red-eye flight to Johannesburg before jetting off to Taipei on Monday.
The 2017 World Student Games – or Universiade – takes place in the Taiwanese capital from Saturday August 19 to Wednesday August 30.
Tamzin earned her first national call-up at the tender age of 15 when she competed at the 2013 World Youth Championships in the Ukraine. Two years later, she took part in the African Junior Championships in Ethiopia.
Although still a junior at the time, her first senior competition was in June 2016 when she was part of the 4x100m relay team at the African Championships in Durban. A month later, she took part in the under-20 World Championships in Poland.
The three Thomas girls – Tamzin’s twin Tamlyn is a national volleyball player – are the sporty ones in the family of five. Her parents dabbled in sport many years ago while sister Katelyn, 13, has taken to cross country running as well as athletics.
“However, Tamlyn and I would not have been able to achieve what we have without our family’s support and sacrifice.
“Our parents love sport and they used to drive us to training or competitions.
“That came to an end when we got our learner’s licences of course,” she said jokingly.
Her mother, Sandra, echoed the sentiment, saying: “As parents, we often have to sacrifice our time and other responsibilities to make sure our girls are at training or competitions and that they have the resources to compete,” she said.
As an example, she recounted the time when the whole family drove Tamzin to the SA championships in Potchefstroom, a trip that took 16 hours by car. “It has been a very long and busy season, my first as a senior athlete,” Tamzin said from OR Tambo International Airport where she was checking in her luggage.
“However, spending part of the European summer with some of the top SA athletes was a memorable experience.
“I was fortunate to live and train in Gemona, Italy, with the likes of experienced campaigners and fellow sprinters like Wayde van Niekerk, Akani Simbine and Alyssa Conley,” she said.
“I learnt so much from them and it will stand me in good stead for next season.”
Living in Gemona was fun, she recalled. “Taking the bicycle to training in the mornings, then a bus in the afternoons whenever we had a competition elsewhere in Europe, was a lot of fun.
“I’m going to Taiwan to end off my season on a positive note, while a personal best in either the 100m, 200m or 4x100m relay will be a bonus.”
Over the next few weeks, Northern News will feature sports women from across the city. Call the sportsdesk on 021 488 4649 if you’d like to share a story.