by Cheryl Goodenough
On the Tennis Court
Some two years after arriving in Australia, and at the age of just 12, Marc Polmans is making his mark on the tennis court. He was the number one in his age group when he left South Africa, and is currently tenniss number one ranked 12 year old in Australia.
Marc started to play tennis at the age of four when his family lived in Amazimtoti, South Africa. Says his father Gavin: Marcs mother Nicola and I both come from a sporting background and I noticed that from a very young age he had very good handeye co-ordination. He very seldom missed kicking or catching a ball. We decided to try tennis at the local club.
Tennis coach Tony Vermaak said that Marc should come back when he was six years old, but after Marc showed that he could hit six out of six balls over the net Tony agreed to coach him.
We started entering him in local tournaments and he was soon winning those, says Gavin. We kept on entering stronger tournaments and he kept on with his winning ways. By the age of 10 he was the number one ranked player in the under 11s in South Africa.
Marcs tennis journey continued after the family moved in Melbourne in January 2008. By early 2009 he was ranked number one in Australia in the boys 12 and under category.
In 2009 he got to the singles final of all four national championships on different surfaces hard court of Melbourne, grass of Mildura, clay of Perth and hard court of Brisbane. He has also won the last two national singles championships in Melbourne and Perth.
Moving to Australia has been challenging for Marc. The really top players in South Africa are of a similar standard to those in Australia, but there are so few really top players in South Africa. Gavin says that the biggest difference and a major advantage in Australia is the ability to play on different surfaces. Playing on clay courts teaches children how to construct points as a result of the slower surface and it is better for their bodies as there is less jarring. In addition, the ability to watch world class players in action in Australia is very valuable to the development of a young player like Marc.
One of Marcs coaches is now Aussie legend Wayne Arthurs, who is an ex-Davis Cup player and was one of the top 50 players in the world during his time.
Gavin attributes Marcs success so far to mental toughness and passion for the game. Marc has the ability to push his body to extreme limits in order to succeed. He also has very good court awareness, which means he understands how to select appropriate shots to play and how to attack an opponents weakness and then execute a game plan to win.
Theres also lots of hard work, of course Marc trains for two hours before school and again in the afternoons.
But Marc hopes that the hard work will pay off. His goal is to be a professional tennis player and to one day represent Australia at a high level.
My most memorable moment
Travelling to Spain as part of a Tennis Australia team and winning a local Spanish tournament.
I enjoyed the climate and playing on the real European clay.
I also made friends with members of the Belgian tennis team.
Gavins advice for kids keen to play tennis seriously
Get coached as soon as possible to learn good technique and play as many tournaments as possible.
Support for Marc
Marc looks set to be selected for a tour of Europe in April 2010, which will cost about $9,000. This is over and above the annual costs of about $20,000 for coaching, tournaments, equipment and accommodation. The Polmans are looking for sponsors to assist Marc.
Sponsorship can be channelled through the Kooyong Foundation, which has been established to provide top-level coaching to promising youngsters. Donations through the Foundation are tax deductible.
For more information contact John McCurdy at the Kooyong Foundation on 0438 595 915.
On the Netball Court
Toowoomba resident Henriette Jansen van Rensburg plays indoor netball for the under 21 Queensland squad, played for the under 21 Australian play that toured New Zealand and was recently selected for the under 21 Australian squad to tour South African in March for the Indoor Netball World Cup.
Unfortunately a serious injury during a training game at the end of November 2009 has resulted in her being out of competitive sport for more than a year.
Henriette started to play netball in South Africa at the age of about six. She played throughout her schooling, and after she immigrated to Australia with her parents and brother in 2006 she played for the Darling Downs side.
However, in 2008 she started to play indoor netball, which is a lot faster than outdoor netball. It has the nets around the court and the ball never goes out so the game never stops. It took me a bit of time to adjust to the game, she says.
She excelled at the sport though and in mid-July 2008 was selected as goal attack for the under 21 Queensland side. They toured to Sydney for the nationals and she was picked for the under 21 Australian squad that toured New Zealand.
The same selection process in 2009 resulted in her being selected for the Australian squad to tour South Africa.
However, the injury, which was due to a really bad fall, resulted in a snapped cruciate ligament, a medical meniscus tear and a fractured tibia bone. She is now on crutches and waiting to get orthopaedic surgery. Once I get the surgery done I will have to wait for 12 months before I can return to playing competitive sport.
Moving to Australia has been a big learning curve for Henriette sport-wise. Although she had been playing outdoor netball for years, Henriette didnt know that indoor netball existed when she was in South Africa. It was a new type of netball to which I had to adapt.
Henriette says that her most memorable moment was in New Zealand. It was when I was standing on the court facing the opposition moments before the game. They started the national anthem and I knew that I was about to represent my country. That feeling is the most amazing feeling I have ever felt.
Henriette attributes her success to the hard work that she put into late night training and to the support of her family and close friends, who are always on the sideline cheering her on. They also give up their time to travel with me and support me through every moment of the journey, she says.
When not playing netball, Henriette is working hard at two jobs: She is a veterinary nurse and works in a deli at the weekends. She also loves camping, 4x4-wheel driving and water skiing.
At the moment Henriettes goal is to make a full recovery after the surgery, but she hopes to be back into competitive netball next year. I would like to make a career out of netball one day, she says.
Henriettes advice to up and coming netball players
Hard work always pays off. The game should always be enjoyable no matter what. If you set goals and put your heart and soul into it, you will always achieve.
On the Hockey Field
By Anelia Blackie
The Bruorton family, who live in Mount Gambier, South Australia, is proof that hockey is a sport for the whole family. The Bruortons are also proof that each member of a family can achieve outstanding results in one sport.
The Bruortons history as hockey players goes back a long way as Mike and Penny Bruorton played the game with passion and success when living in South Africa. After they moved to the United Kingdom in 1997, where they lived for four years, they were disappointed that it was not such a big sport over there.
As a family from South Africa, where we play sports as little kids and take our kids to play sports, it was a joy to come to Mount Gambier and see all the sporting clubs here, says Mike.
You go out on a Saturday morning and see all the kids playing sport everywhere its just fantastic.
During the recent hockey season Mike coached the division one Redbacks womens hockey team to a final four berth after coaching the same team to many premierships in recent years.
Penny played in the team Mike coached, but also joint-coached the 2009 Redbacks under 13 girls premiership team.
Son Matt (19) coached the Redbacks under 13 boys team to the 2009 premiership and was also selected as the Lower South East Hockey Association division one mens runner-up to the best and fairest player of 2009.
And Ashley, who is the youngest member of the family at the age of 10, represented the Redbacks Hockey Club with selection into the Lower South East SAPSASA team that came fourth at the State championships. She also played in the 2009 winning under 13 girls premiership team.The Bruortons talents are not limited to sport.
As a qualified zoologist and entomologist, Mike worked on game farms in Southern Africa for many years, studied monkeys for his masters degree in zoology and worked on a lion research project in Botswana.
At the age of 32, he decided on a career-change and followed in his fathers footsteps by studying to become a doctor.
The family quickly settled in after moving to Australia and Penny utilised her teaching qualification and experience to work as relief teacher at various schools in Mount Gambier, but her science degree later helped to gain work as a laboratory technician.
We all started playing hockey when Matt was invited to play, says Penny.
We went along and all ended up playing thats how it is; you play for a club and then you start to put something back into the club.
Story courtesy of The Border Watch http:www.borderwatch.com.au