Scheepers jumps into history
She reigned supreme at the 2023 International School Sport Federation world school sport games that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last month.
“I feel very proud of myself. It’s a great accomplishment and I enjoyed taking the podium to get my gold medal,” she said in an interview with Namibian Sun.
She added that sport goes beyond just winning medals; one must enjoy what they participate in, as it will be what will keeps them going if they happen to not win any medals.
The world games were a close call for Scheepers as she picked up a knee injury that forced her to take some time off training to recuperate.
“Luckily, my doctor cleared me just in time to get up to speed with my training ahead of the competition. Despite not having my parents on the sidelines cheering me on, I really enjoyed taking part and getting to showcase my skills.”
Scheepers has had an inherent knack for athletics. She started taking part at the tender age of seven and got her taste of victory in her very first 80-metre race. However, her premier success was short-lived as she stumbled at the finish line and feared taking part in any more races.
“My parents then signed me up for athletics at Windhoek Gymnasium Athletics Club, where my then coach, Karina Theunissen, helped me to regain my confidence to run full out again. I have been at the club for seven years now and I am coached by Ruwanda Janse van Rensburg in high-jump, Clifford Cloete in long-jump as well as Karina and Clifford in sprints.”
Her transition into high-jump came at 10 years of age after a family friend encouraged her to try it out and she immediately fell in love with the discipline.
“My inspiration is my parents who encouraged me to start taking part in athletics. My mother is always next to the track and behind the steering wheel, be it training or competitions and tries her best to be there at every single one of them. Another person who inspired me with jumps is Jolene Jacobs, who gave me the nickname ‘Springs’,” she said.
Accomplishments and aspirations
Having been high-jumping for three years, Scheepers has managed to remain steadfast as the number-one athlete in her age group for the Khomas Region. Last year saw her claim the second position at the Namibia Schools Sport Union (NSSU) athletics nationals for high-jump and third place in the long jump.
Earlier this year, she made her comeback, reigning supreme in both the long-jump and high-jump for the under-15 age group, while securing a third spot in the 200m sprint.
When asked about her plans of going pro in track and field, she said she is currently working towards the Junior Olympics in 2026, with hopes of participating in the 2028 Olympics.
“Juggling school and sports can be tricky at times, especially when you take some time off of school to participate in international tournaments overseas like the recent one. With effort and my mother’s utmost support, we make it!”
Scheepers aspires to pursue a career in the medical field, and is currently looking into biokinetics. She also started playing netball in March. “I love my coach; she always tries her best and shows up with loads of enthusiasm and energy. I love my team as well; they make me feel very loved.”
She urged her fellow youth to dream big about things they love and work just as hard to be better at them. “Don’t give up because nothing comes for free!”