DAWNE Fortuin, 50, from Aloevale is adamant she will bring back a gold medal from the upcoming South African Table Tennis Championships in Johannesburg next month.
“I was still a young girl. One day on my way to church, I walked past two boys playing and heard the sounds coming from their table. I stopped and watched and ended up not going to church and watching them play. After that, I played non-stop,” the mother of three said.
She has bagged many accolades from the sport, representing the Border and provincial teams.
“I have come back with bronze medals in the past two years and now I hope to get a gold, but it is not always easy because there are tough opponents in the Western Cape team.”
Fortuin is an experienced player and coach at national level and said she decided to share her talent with the youth in Aloevale by forming the Titans Table Tennis Club.
“My club started with six children but now I have over 40 members from children to seniors. Drug use in my community is rife and the table tennis keeps the children busy. Some of my players have also done well provincially and nationally.”
As a result of her love for the game, she resigned from her job at a local business to focus on building her team.
“I am happy to see the young kids get opportunities that will help them in future. Last year, some of the juniors I coached went to the SA nationals and came back with medals in singles and doubles events. I take these children from the streets and teach them what I know in my garage.”
She said her family has been her pillar of strength throughout her career.
“The children are always enthusiastic to play. Some of the parents and my family have given me great support and a win at the championships next month will motivate the children I coach. I truly hope they succeed in the sport.”