Two talented young athletes from Reddam House Durbanville have returned from global sporting events with bronze, silver and gold medals – and a World Championship title.
The two future Olympians – Anika Visser (17) and Tatiana Thomatos (12) – carried the flag for South Africa, participating against top international athletes in September and October.
Tatiana Thomatos, who is in Grade 6 at Reddam House Durbanville, won gold at the World Championships for UIPM Laser Run in Lisbon, Portugal in the U/13 age group for the second year. Beating girls from the Great Britain, Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other top qualifying nations, Tatiana was crowned World Champion. She completed the Laser Run, which is the final discipline of Modern Pentathlon, in 3 minutes 40 seconds. The Laser Run combines running and shooting in fast-paced and dynamic races including four rounds of laser pistol shooting from 5m-10m distance and four laps of a course measuring 300m-600m. Athletes have to hit the target five times before they can begin the next run. This marks Tatiana’s third consecutive World Championship win, having won the girls U/11 category in 2019 and girls /13 in 2021 and 2022, with the event being cancelled in 2020 due to COVID.
Less than a month later, this incredible young woman participated in the highly anticipated UIPM 2022 Biathle-Triathle World Championships in Madeira. The sequence of Biathle is run-swim-run, while athletes in Triathle compete in a swim-run- shoot format. After a great weekend of racing in very tough conditions, Tatiana left Madeira with four medals – a bronze in the Mixed Relay Triathle, silver in the Team Medal Triathle, Bronze for Individual Triathle and Silver Team Medal Biathle.
Tatiana is an accomplished athlete in the disciplines of fencing, swimming, laser shooting and running. Commenting on being crowned World Champion in the UIPM Laser Run, Tatiana says, “It was my dream to win the title of World Champion for both years in the U/13 category, as well as three years in a row.”
The future for this talented young girl looks set to be paved with gold, as she prepares to compete in the 4th Summer Youth Olympic Games in Dakar in 2026, having been selected for the target squad. Her plans for the December holidays include a three-day training camp for modern pentathlon as part of the Youth Olympic Target Squad.
The other young athlete from Reddam House Durbanville to achieve international sporting acclaim this year is Grade 11 student Anika Visser, who was crowned the Junior Africa Triathlon Champion, winning the Africa Triathlon Championships in Morocco. Organised under the auspices of the World Triathlon, the competition brought together athletes representing several countries including Morocco, Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Mauritius and Kenya. Under exceptionally tough conditions, Anika completed the 750m open water swim, 20km cycle and 5km run in a total time of 1 hour, 9 minutes and 32 seconds. Anika won by 1 minute and 16 seconds, and achieved the fastest bike split by around 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
Commenting on her participation in the competition, Anika said, “It was a super tough race, with very high humidity and midday heat in Agadir, but every ounce of pain was worth it. All I could think about during the race was all the hours of training, 3 am mornings and sacrifice to reach this fitness and once I passed the leading girl and tasted the gold, there was no looking back. It was a really tough swim, with some choppy waters and cross winds. I don’t think I’ve ever swallowed as much water as the waves broke on over my head. I’ve been training my swim really hard, but I only was 5th out of the water. But once I was on the bike, it was just a game of catch up. Then on the run, I was just calm and tried to give it what I had left. I really struggled to breathe deeply with the high humidity. Our race started midday (13:30) so it was very hot. This just makes all the hard work, early morning training sessions and times where I felt like giving up- worth it!”
Reddam House Durbanville’s Executive Head Barry Nieuwoudt says the entire school was rooting for the girls, glued to their screens in anticipation of their results. “We are exceptionally proud of Tatiana and Anika. It takes an enormous amount of tenacity, strength of character and sheer force of will to achieve these kinds of results. They have truly proven their mettle, training throughout the pandemic and continuing to keep their eye on their goals.”
For more information, visit https://inspirededu.com/our-schools/ and click on Africa & Middle East link.