PMB super woman’s super hard work pays off

2014-07-31 00:00

ALETTE du Plessis (39) could be called a modern day super woman. She works in the Department of Transport in Pietermaritzburg, is a mother of two children aged seven and 10, and still finds time to train in karate.

Last month, she represented South Africa at the KSI (Kimura Shukokai International) Karate World Champs at Sun City, returning with a bronze medal. “I am still on cloud nine and cannot believe I won a medal,” she said. “This was my first time at a world event and it shows what can be achieved with focus, dedication and setting goals.”

She turned out in four different categories — individual kumite (fighting), unison kata, individual kata and the SA women’s B team in the team kumite. Another feather in her cap was being the only veteran competing in the team challenge. “It was unusual to have someone my age competing in four disciplines. Four South African teams were selected and I made the second team,” said Du Plessis.

Twenty countries competed and there were more than 400 competitors. Du Plessis’s moment of glory arrived in the individual kumite when she went the distance to earn a coveted bronze medal. This made up for the unison kata where she just missed another bronze.

In between her work and family life, Du Plessis took on intensive training over nine months leading up to the championships. As a member of the SA karate squad, she had to attend national training camps in Gauteng once a month, over and above what she was doing in KZN.

“It was a hectic training schedule. In the build-up to the champs, I was training three days a week, plus full weekends — Friday, Saturday and Sunday — for four hours. I am fortunate to have a patient husband.”

Besides her training, Du Plessis assists with coaching at Merchiston Prep School twice a week and does her own training at Carter High School.

“It’s been a long road to reach this level,” said Du Plessis. “I started karate in Standard 1, then gave it up for 10 years to focus on my children and the family. Then my daughter started karate and wanted me on the floor with her to give her confidence. The bug had bitten again and here I am today. My son also is involved in the sport and it teaches them that nothing comes easy and hard work brings reward.”

She thanked her coaches, family and friends who have helped her achieve at the highest level. “This medal has made me more determined to succeed,” said Du Plessis. “The next world champs is in Germany in 2016 and my family have backed me to attend. This time, I will bring back gold.”

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