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Leah swims to success

A multi-talented local sportswoman is one step closer to realising her dream of representing South Africa at the Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

Leah Christie hopes to one day don the green and gold on a global stage and, judging by her recent achievements in three sporting codes, she is well on her way to achieving her long-term goals.

At the tender age of 13 years, the avid athlete, netball player and swimmer found herself representing the Western Cape at the national schools’ championships for athletics and netball earlier this year. Next month, the Gordon’s Bay resident will also line-up in the province’s colours at the South African Schools’ Swimming Championships.

What’s more, the Beaumont Primary School learner represented SA in 13 events at the Cana Zone 3 Swimming Championships in Khartoum, Sudan from Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 November. At this competition, the natural talent raked in medals – one gold, eight silver and four bronze – in all the events in which she participated. “At the competition, I was also the highest point scorer in the girls’ 13 to 14 age group. It is a great honour to have had the opportunity to represent our country,” the Grade 7 learner says.

Christie is determined to succeed in every sporting sphere, but she also uses sport as a catalyst to building friendships. Her sporting prowess also earned her the monthly DistrictMail and Let’s Play Sportstar of the Month award in May 2017 (“All-rounder wins top award”, 29 June 2017).

When asked why she spends so much of her time participating in sport, Christie says: “I enjoy doing sport; I learn to know new people and make new friends all the time. It helps forming my character, teaches me independence and responsibility, and I grow with every experience.”

As a senior at primary school she is still learning how to juggle and keep a balance between her academic and sporting commitments, but she takes every moment as a learning curve, she relates. “I have learnt and I am still learning how to manage my time [when it comes to academics and sport],” Christie says, adding that she will be continuing her high school career at Curro Durbanville next year. “My parents [have always] told me that if I cannot manage training and studying, I will never learn to manage my time. I train most of the time – even during the exams, although I do take off when I write one of my weaker subjects.”

If she was forced to choose between one of the three sporting codes in which she excels, Christie confidently states she would go with swimming, as it’s “the sport that I excel in”. Her choice comes as no surprise, given that she was only six-months-old when she was first introduced to a swimming pool and, ever since, she has made splashes on the local swimming scene, raking in several awards over the years.

Apart from setting her sights on competing at the Youth Commonwealth Games and Youth Olympics as a swimmer in the long run, she also has her eyes fixed on swimming youth qualifying times for the junior African Games next year.

She thanked De Jongh’s Panelbeaters, Lise Lourens, Marchalaine Hendricks, Keith and Pholda Abrahams, Meagan Crisp, Kitty Paulse, Lezelda Paulse and Julie de Jongh for their generous contributions towards her travels to Sudan.

“I also want to thank all my friends for their emotional support and encouragement, but mostly I want to thank our Heavenly Father for my parents and their support, and the talents He gave me.”

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