Micheala Ohlson, a member of the Ocean View Badminton Club, a non-profit organisation, has been selected to represent South Africa at the All Africa U19 tournament in Mauritius in December.
In order to attend, she must raise R30 000 to cover her flights and accommodation, according to Mike Noone, chairperson of the Western Province Junior Badminton Association.
The Western Province Badminton Association has been in existence since 1924 and has produced many Protea players and Olympians over the years, according to its website.
Mr Noone said any donations to help Ms Ohlson reach her fund-raising goal would be appreciated as players are responsible to cover their own costs for the trip.
He said she was selected to represent South Africa last year at the tournament in Benin but was unable to attend due to coming into contact with a positive Covid-19 case the day before the team departed.
“She is a role model in the badminton community and at the recent South African Open held in Cape Town, she reached the semi-finals in the women’s singles discipline. Her performance was noted by the national selectors and she achieved a tournament grading due to her good showing,” Mr Noone said.
She was also invited to attend the U19 trials held in October where she excelled and was selected for the South African side.
Her coach, Francois Wessels, said he started formally coaching Micheala at the age 10. However, prior to that, he said, children on the road where he had lived had always asked him if they could play with the rackets and shuttlecock, and Micheala had been one of them.
He said Micheala was always the one to remind him of practice days at the Ocean View multi-purpose centre and she would always get all the equipment ready.
Mr Wessels said that since the death of her grandmother in September 2019 and her mother in January 2022, she and her brother and sisters had been living with her aunt in Lavender Hill.
“Despite these hardships, she is a role model to all and is hard-working and determined to improve,” he said.
Micheala said she was “extremely grateful” for the opportunity to go to the All Africa tournament in Mauritius.
“The day uncle Mike told me I had made the team and I was going to Mauritius, I got emotional and started crying because I knew that there are not many teens who are blessed with opportunities like this.”
She said she was proud of herself for not giving up, even on the days when it was hard.
“I kept pushing as badminton was the only thing that kept me on the right path,” she said.
For more information about the tournament or if you wish to make a contribution, email Mr Wessels at email@example.com or Mr Noone at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy in email@example.com