“Giving up on yourself is not an option; striving for success is the only way to a better and happy life.”
These are the words that have kept teen athlete Carla Johnson (18) from Retreat motivated.
In spite of her challenges and lack of financial means at times, it never crosses her mind to stop what she really loves doing. Johnson is the best in running, long jump and heptathlon and she has medals to show for it.
However, at times she struggles to make ends meet and misses competitions because she doesn’t have money.
Her love for athletics started when she was eight years old, influenced by brothers who also love sports.
She has attained her Western Province colours and has represented the province at different national competitions.
WhirlwindWhen she takes to the track, she runs like a whirlwind. Her success on the track has earned her national colours and the opportunity to represent the country in Botswana, China and the USA.
Johnson says this is her life.
“I really enjoy it. Sport is my passion; I really love doing it and I just can’t imagine myself doing anything else. This is what I want to do all the time. It completes me and gives me so much joy,” she says.
Taking from her role models Sonja van der Merwe and Usain Bolt, she is determined to be the best in whatever she does. Now she is eyeing the 2020 Olympics and says taking part in that will be a dream come true.
“I’m training so hard. I want to be part of the team so that I can show the world want I can do. I want to compete at the highest level of sport. This is what I really love and going to the 2020 Olympics will be a top achievement for me.”
Raised by a single mother, she says sometimes she misses sporting events because her mother simply cannot afford it.
Her wish is to have a sponsor who will help her with the sporting gear that she needs to take part in sports.
They have been knocking on several doors for support, but nothing has come up for her yet.
Never give upHowever, she says that it will not stop her from doing what really completes her.
“My mother struggles a lot, but she tries to make ends meet. It really breaks my heart when I have to miss a competition, but I know she would have tried. I’m appealing to people to sponsor me so that I won’t have to miss any more competitions. At times it becomes difficult to even get money for transport, but my mother has always tried to make sure that I don’t miss any competition,” she says.
Her mother, Berenice, says Carla really loves what she does, though it hasn’t been easy for them and they haven’t given up.
“When she has tournaments coming up I do fundraising and even sell stuff so that she can at least have pocket money. It really pains me a lot to see the great potential that she has and I wouldn’t want her to miss on reaching the stars because I can’t afford it. We struggle to get sponsorships and we hope that one day something will come her way. She is very passionate about this, so I support her all the time.”
By – Tiyese Jeranji @Jeranji