SONOP Primary School pupil Roxanne van Eyk is both cute as a button and tough as nails.
And it is this combination that will see the 13-year-old fly to Vlissingen in the Netherlands in June to compete in the World Japan Karate Association Championship.
The Grade 7 Despatch pupil caught the attention of national selectors after winning gold and silver medals at the South African Federation of Shotokan Karate African Open tournament in Uitenhage last year.
Despite only taking up the sport 1½ years ago, Roxanne is confident ahead of the championship and is determined to return home with a podium finish.
“I know I can win so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I still get nervous when I face someone on the mat because I am usually the smaller one, but that helps cause my opponents usually underestimate me.
“I started karate because I saw characters in my favourite movie, Kickin’ It, doing karate. But now I do the sport because I love it and it also helps with discipline and getting all my anger out,” she said.
Her foster father, Eugene Barnard, said he and his wife, Lindie, were immensely proud of their daughter.
“She has a natural ability and has shown it in her training and competition. She has managed to win 12 medals in her last six competitions.”
He said the trip would cost R25 000, of which they had raised about R18 000 in fund-raisers.
Roxanne trains twice a week for two hours at a time at the Despatch Karate Club where her technique is being honed by Sensei Justin Botha.
-Tremaine van Aardt