Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We interrupt this knitting blog for some sporting news

Australians love their sporting heroes.  And they love stories of Aussie battlers who overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to come out on top.  So what to make of their reaction to the following story?

Queensland teenager Samantha-Jane Stacey, 14, battled through five matches with a sprained ankle to win a silver medal in an elite international competition – the youngest Australian ever and first Australian in 16 years to win a medal at the event.  Japanese representatives, whose athletes traditionally dominate this sport, invite her to train with them in their country before returning to Australia.

Meanwhile back in Australia, is Samantha-Jane celebrated as a hero?  Offered lucrative sponsorship deals? Held up as a role model to other young Australians?


In fact, in response to a straightforward news report of her achievements, some online readers responding to the story mock her and claim she is a disgusting embarrassment and can't possibly be regarded as a healthy role model for children.

The reason is that Samantha-Jane won her silver medal at the World Sumo Championships in Estonia.  And like most sumo wrestlers she is big – 127kg (280 pounds).

Not that this worries Australian Sumo Federation president Katrina Watts who told The Courier Mail: "She has been wrestling since she was a kid and she is very fit and healthy. Her whole family is big so it's not an issue. Some of the female sumo wrestlers are over 160kg."

Samantha-Jane's mum Sue is extremely proud of her daughter, telling the The Courier Mail: "She's a gift from God and I love her so much… She's very confident in who she is and I'm just so happy she's found something that she's good at in sumo wrestling."

Sue reckons her daughter's critics should "get a life".

"Some of the comments were the most disgusting, un-Australian things I've ever read…The things people say don't worry Sam because she's happy in her own skin. To me, she's beautiful inside and out and I'm so proud of her."

Full credit to Samantha-Jane for her incredible athletic achievements - and to her fantastic mother who obviously provides her with the unconditional love, support and positive reinforcement she will need to live in a society full of nasty judgemental idiots.

1 comment:

Taphophile said...

Way to go Samantha-Jane and you, too. The barriers put in the way of large people to excercise are many and varied - she should be lauded as the champion she is. I saw a tabloid TV piece on her which was pretty well done, although they just couldn't help but have a sly dig about her weight.