On the go

Tamzin Thomas has come a long way from her days as a high school athlete to taking top spot on podiums around the globe.

With a name like hers, SA senior women’s 200m champion, Tamzin Thomas, 22, was always destined for bigger things. She’s right up there with Superman’s Lois Lane, Wonder Woman or any other comic book hero you can think of.

But her journey to the top was no accident or the result of some magical superpower. Instead, it was all hard work and dedication, endless training and, of course, a little thing called talent.

A Western Province Athletics export to its Gauteng rivals, the Olympics-bound speedster is currently based at the University of Johannesburg, Thomas, a third-year sports management student, found welcome relief in the ongoing lockdown.

Stuck up north for most of the time since the president declared a national state of disaster at the end of March, Thomas was able to travel home two weeks ago, following the easing of travel restrictions between the provinces.

Despite having criss-crossed all over the globe, taking part in numerous international athletics events, home is where the heart is and, says Thomas, she’s more than happy to be able to spend time with her parents, her twin sister Tamlyn, and baby sis Katelyn.

After all, they’ve always been her biggest fans – from the beginning as a star athlete at Imperial Primary in Mitchell’s Plain and later at the Kuils River-based Western Cape Sports School, where she gained a reputation as one of the city’s top speedsters. She is quick to credit her teachers and coaches at Imperial Primary for their encouragement and motivation.

She first made Western Province in Grade 7, while at Imperial and had done so throughout her school career.

Having made her mark in all age categories – from sub-youth to youth, junior and senior divisions, Thomas won her first SA title in 2014 and followed up with a second title the following year.

Among the accolades she collected during a relatively short period, is her first international medal, winning an African junior championship title, gold in the 100m relay at the African senior championships in 2016, a silver medal at the World Student Games and winning the SA 200m title in Germiston, in 2019.

Like Thomas, both her siblings are also very sporty with Tamlyn having represented the country as a volleyball player.

As can be expected from twins, the two had always been close – from their days at Imperial Primary to the Sports School and eventually, the University of the Western Cape, before their respective career and sporting paths sent them to opposite ends of the world – one to Gauteng, the other to Washington DC, in America.

With their busy schedules, balancing studies, training and competing, every moment they get to spend together is treasured.

The one good thing about the extended lockdown period, says Thomas is that it forces one to chill, relax and reconnect. Despite her obvious disappointmet at this year’s Olympics and all other sporting activities having grounded to a halt, she chooses to remain focused and optimistic.

She said that a break from their hectic routines might just be what the doctor ordered to allow their bodies to recover, so they could come back stronger and to try things they would otherwise not have had the opportunity to do.

“So the positives that came with this lockdown for me is that I started cooking more. There’s this one coach that said we as athletes or humans do three things – we like to taste things, we like to smell things and we like to experience things using our senses. So I started taking on a new challenge, I took up cooking,” she said.

“Another thing I did during this lockdown, is to focus on my studies.

“This semester I passed everything with distinctions. It was just good to take a break and plan for the upcoming season. The lockdown also helped athletes recover from injuries so we can come back stronger,” she said.

To commemorate Women’s Month, feel free to share your stories of remarkable women in sport. Email fuad.esack@inl.co.za or call Mzoxolo Budaza on 021 488 4620.