Our preschoolers couldn’t believe their luck when an Olympian paid a visit to our centre at Raffles Town Club recently.
Meet Carli Renzi, the only Australian female athlete to qualify for the Judo Women’s Event at the Olympics in 2012.
Carli Renzi’s Olympic Journey
She was seven years old when she first started her Judo class. Her father had learned it as a young boy and enrolled her when he saw a sign for it at Epping Leisure Centre in Melbourne.
Carli followed her father and started to learn Judo. I also want to follow my father and learn how to play tennis.” – Bailey Koh, 6 years old
Judo training was fun, but she did face some challenges sticking to the sport.
There were so few girls in Judo, she would have to fight with boys most of the time. It was difficult for her, as they were a lot bigger and stronger, but that did not stop Carli. She continued to fight mixed until she was 17 years old. This had made her a lot tougher and it gave her the training needed to up her skills to the next level as she prepared to compete.
Another challenge for her, which she had easily championed through, was balancing her job at ANZ and attending training. Most would forgo their sports aspiration after entering the corporate world, but not Carli. She continued to thrive in competitive sports whilst working for ANZ after graduating from university. What an inspiration – that’s the way to go!
Thanks to the support of her bosses at work, she was able to balance the two and take the time off that she needed to compete in all the overseas qualifiers. Carli ended up being the only Australian female to qualify for the Judo women’s event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
She was also the only Australian Judo athlete that had been able to keep a full-time job going through all the rigorous trials. Now that’s what we call a Champion!
Stepping into the shoes of a Judo champion
During her visit, Carli let the Champs try on her Olympic uniform, black belt and Judo Gi, the formal Japanese name for the Judo uniform.
I like her uniform because it was green and has the Australian flag on it.” – Kieran Liok Kia, 6 years old
Things got more exciting when she demonstrated a couple of her awesome Judo moves and guided the children to try some of the simple ones.
“I enjoyed the part when she practised some Judo moves with us. But my teachers said that we are not allowed to do them without a Judo instructor. So, one day I want to learn Judo too.” – Callum Soh, 6 years old
She also shared with them about the Champion Mindset, and what it means to persevere and push towards your goal as a Judo athlete.
The Champion Mindset
At MindChamps, The Champion Mind refers to the celebration of an individual’s uniqueness, going beyond conventional wisdom and overcoming adversity to achieve success. Carli had clearly proven to have a mindset of a Champion, having been faced with various challenges throughout her years as a Judo athlete.
Nevertheless, she has been focusing on the positive facets of her journey and finding the fun in it. And for that reason, Carli has had her well-deserved share of success in her athletic career!
100% Respect, Zero Fear
MindChamps’ overarching philosophy of 100% Respect, Zero Fear is a way for individuals to approach the world such that they have full confidence in themselves while considering the rights and opinions of others.
Carli’s relationship with her fellow athletes has always been a positive one. She is very supportive and encouraging towards them. A fantastic display of good sportsmanship from one athlete to another, despite being possible competitors.
“To be competitive, resilience is probably the key attribute, because there are a lot of hard knocks out there, but you have to keep getting back up, driven and hungry for success the next time. For me, it’s about putting yourself ‘out there’. You feel a bit vulnerable; you have your own expectations and everyone else’s, but you know what factors you can control. And then on the day, you have to trust that your instinct will kick in and you will perform well.”
– Carli Renzi, on her Zero-Fear mentality towards challenges faced as an athlete
Here’s what some more of our Champs have to say about Carli’s visit!
“I learned about Olympics. One day I want to play badminton in the Olympics.” – Ashley Mireya Lau, 5 years old
“I like her because she is from my favourite country.” – Avery Han, 5 years old
Written by Nadia Abdul Shukor
Keen to find out what goes on during the day at MindChamps PreSchool @ Raffles Town Club?