Uprooting oneself and moving across the world is a daunting challenge for even the toughest of us. And of course, one of the great concerns of any parent moving countries has to be, “What will life be like for my children in this new land?” Happily, there are more and more stories of ex-South African children not only loving their new home, but achieving above and beyond their dreams in a place that offers so much opportunity to the young. Take for example the Theron family who have in the last four years, seen their daughters jump to the dizzying heights of success in competitive trampolining.
Wy and Ca-Marie Theron moved to Australia; Eight Mile Plains (our shop is in Sunnybank Hills), Queensland to be precise, in the early part of 2000 with their two girls, Vinita and Calista. Their third little one, JD Theron, who turned 5 in February was born in Queensland and is the little Aussie of the family. They led the way for other family members and now have Wy’s brother and sister and their families as well has his parents living in Brisbane. Ca-Marie’ brother and his family too made the great trek across the ocean and are also based in Brisbane.
Ca-Marie and her family love living in Australia. Despite missing familiar things like magazines (although now they have SABONA!!!) and television programmes, they have settled very well into life in Queensland and are grateful to their new homeland for giving them the chance to live in safety, and for providing their children with the opportunity to do anything they want with their lives. And the Theron girls have certainly grabbed opportunity with both hands (or should I say hands, feet, knees…), with both girls competing at the Trampolining Levels Nationals in Adelaide in September 2007.
Vinita and Calista’s trampolining career actually started when they took up gymnastics at a local gymnastics club that also offered trampolining. Calista kept asking to try the exciting looking sport and so in the last school term of 2004, the sisters bounced into action and haven’t looked back.
Their training is rigorous with Calista training three times a week and Vinita training three times a week on the trampoline and twice a week at gymnastics. The girls are fortunate enough to have as their coach, Darren Gillis, a former Australian Trampolininst who has represented Australia all over the world.
When both of the girls medalled at their first competition, it was clear that they had talent. This was confirmed when they continued to attain 1st, 2nd or 3rd at every interclub competition from then on. Their achievements could fill a whole page on their own but the highlight for Calista was being chosen for the Queensland Age Team to represent Queensland in Bendigo where she attained 1st at the Nationals for synchro, 9th for trampolining and 14th for the double mini event.
The sisters’ most recent competition was the Nationals in Adelaide in September 2007. Both girls achieved well in the competition with Vinita, age 12, winning 3rd place for double mini, and 8th place for trampolining, and Calista, age 9, coming 4th for trampolining and 14th for double mini. What is particularly impressive is that for this competition age is not taken into account, and so the girls competed against competitors of varied ages, and of course against each other!
Ca-Marie, who is somewhat of a Super-Mom, although she humbly denies this referring to herself instead as ‘Mum’s Taxi’, handles the issue of competition very wisely. She has encouraged them to focus on competing for the family rather than just for themselves, and so everyone wins no matter who wins. The girls themselves are quite amazing, fitting into their hectic schedule; choir, violin lessons and tennis as well as school and trampolining. The secret to their incredible time management? Learning to prioritise and not watching too much television. They’ve learnt from the best, with Ca-Marie being a master of time management; juggling family, the girls’ busy schedules and working at the family business. Still, the Therons make time for family fun with their favorite activity being a day on the beach.
The Therons’ move to Queensland from Louis Trichart in South Africa has certainly opened doors for the girls as they had no trampolining club there and would not have had the opportunities that they have been presented with in Australia. As for the future… Vinita aims to get into the Queensland Age team this year. Calista has her sights set on Olympic glory but will start by trying to make the Australian team by 2009, and hopes to compete at the World Championships. Based on past experience, I have no doubt that we will be hearing about the Trampolining Therons in the future. We at SABONA congratulate them on their efforts and wish them all the best in the future.