Youth Olympian, Carmie Prinsloo, is steadily becoming a household name as the cross-country and track and field athlete dominates local races at junior level and competes on the global stage.
The 18-year-old Hoërskool Montana matriculant grew up in Pretoria with her grandfather who was an avid Comrades Marathon runner and would join him for road races and fun runs along with her mother.
In primary school, Prinsloo’s love for running began to develop further when her coach who had seen her talents took her under his wing by introducing her to his training group.
She went on to compete in various local races, winning gold medals at national championships and representing Team South Africa.
Prinsloo’s biggest highlight to date is earning fourth place in the 3000m race at the Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires and 27th-place at the IAAF World Cross-Country championships.
Her greatest sporting ambition is to compete at the senior Olympic Games one day and follow in the footsteps of her role model, Dominique Scott-Efurd.
Speaking with Celine Abrahams, Prinsloo chats about balancing education and athletics and lessons she has learnt along the way.
Carmie, please introduce yourself and tell us more about you.
I am Carmie Prinsloo, an 18-year-old cross-country and track and field athlete. I am currently in my matric year at Hoërskool Montana.
How has the Covid-19 lockdown impacted you and how are you managing this time?
The biggest impact for me was all the competitions that were cancelled, but I have used my time wisely and I am staying as fit as possible so that I will be ready for competition once it is allowed again.
When is the earliest you expect to be back on the track and competing again?
Everything is very unsure right now, but as soon as we are allowed to be back on tracks…hopefully before the end of the year I will be able to participate in one or two competitions again.
How do you keep fit during this time and work on your running?
During level 5 lockdown I would run in the yard and also do some spinning and strength work. Since we have been allowed to run outside again, my training is pretty much normal again where I do my every day runs on the road.
How did you fall in love with sport?
“I grew up with my grandfather who ran the Comrades Marathon several times and on weekends I would go with my grandpa and mom to road races and do the 5 km fun run.” – Youth Olympian, Carmie Prinsloo.
I grew up with my grandfather who ran the Comrades Marathon several times and on weekends I would go with my grandpa and mom to road races and do the 5 km fun run. I also ran track and cross-country in primary school. My coach saw me at one race and invited me to join his training group. He was always positive and motivating towards me. That was when I started to love running.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
I grew up in Pretoria on a plot and was always a very active child. I loved playing outside, riding bikes and running around in our yard. Our family loves nature and the outdoors and went camping in Botswana a few times.
Has athletics always been your number one sport of choice?
In primary school I almost did every kind of sport, but athletics and cross-country stood out for me. The reason I like athletics is because it consists of different disciplines that together forms athletics. You can compete individually or as part of a team and work together to achieve team goals.
What have been your career highlights to date?
My career highlights will definitely be the Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I ran the 3000m and came fourth. Also, the IAAF World Cross-Country championships where I came 27th in the junior women’s category.
Please tell us more about competing at the Youth Olympic Games and the experience that you gained being part of the event.
It was a huge privilege for me to represent SA at the Youth Olympics Games. It was a very different experience than what I was used to, but it showed me what I am capable of and it gave me a big confidence boost.
What are some of the lessons you have learnt along the way in your career so far?
To work very hard, success does not come over night, to be patient in times of injuries and to trust God because I know He has a plan for my life.
How have you been able to balance education and your sporting career?
“I usually train directly after school, so when I get home, I spend the rest of the day doing my schoolwork.” – Prinsloo speaks on balancing her education and athletics.
It is not easy because training takes a lot of energy and you need discipline to make sure you spend enough time on your academics as well. I usually train directly after school, so when I get home, I spend the rest of the day doing my schoolwork.
What changes would you like to see taking place regarding the promotion of female athletes?
I think it should be made worthwhile for female athletes to become professional. To get more support from communities and sponsorships, especially for pregnant athletes when they need a short break to start a family.
What has been the biggest challenge for you in your career so far?
To stay strong during times you don’t do as well as you would have liked to, and you know you have put a lot of hard work into it. In other words, to always stay positive, even during difficult times.
Which sportswomen inspire you and why?
Dominique Scott-Efurd is a great inspiration to me. When she has a bad race, she walks away with the motivation to train harder, to stay stronger and the will to perform better the next time.
What is your advice for young girls who are looking to following their sporting dreams?
Remember to always love what you do! Hard work always pays off. Discipline, passion, and patience is important and trust God, for He knows the best.
What is your greatest sporting ambition?
My greatest sporting ambition is to definitely participate at the senior Olympic Games.
Beyond your sporting career, what other career path would you like to take in the future?
I would like to study and get a degree in Language and Speech therapy. I would love to help people, especially children and make a difference in their lives.
Photo 1 Caption: Youth Olympian, Carmie Prinsloo, is steadily becoming a household name as the cross-country and track and field athlete has been dominating local races at junior level and competing on the global stage. Photo: Edurocad (Twitter)
Photo 2 Caption: The 18-year-old Hoërskool Montana matriculant grew up in Pretoria with her grandfather who was an avid Comrades Marathon runner and would join him for road races and fun runs together with her mother. Photo: Endurocad (Twitter)