Ocean View teen gears up to represent SA at African badminton tournament in Mauritius

Micheala Ohlson is the fourth player from Ocean View to get national colours in badminton.
Teenager Micheala Ohlson, from Ocean View, has been selected to play for South Africa at the All Africa Under-19 tournament in Mauritius next month
The 18-year-old has been playing badminton since she was ten years old. She now lives in Lavender Hill, but she grew up in Ocean View, where there is an active badminton club. Ohlson said she would often watch her older cousin play badminton in Ocean View hall, where there are three badminton courts.
“When I saw her play, it inspired me. I thought to myself: ‘This is what I want to do.’”
She said she would also see her neighbour Francois Wessels carrying rackets and shuttles and would ask to borrow these to hit around in the street. Wessels is now her coach.
“The moment I took a racket and held it in my hands, I could feel the excitement of the sport,” said Ohlson.
Ohlson said although she also played cricket, “I didn’t feel the game like badminton.”
Wessels started taking her to the hall in Ocean View and later to the John Tyres hall in Kenilworth, where the Ocean View team also practises.
“There would be players who already had their SA colours. I would sit and watch how they played their hearts out, diving for the shuttle and shouting for joy when they won.
“The other players went to other provinces and countries, and I thought to myself: ‘I also want to go there.’ So I trained hard and eventually reached their level,” said Ohlson.
She said she goes to gym every day and practices badminton in Kenilworth every Saturday for three hours.
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Ohlson is the oldest of five children and has been living with her aunt Tougieda Stemmet in Lavender Hill since her mother died in 2019. Her father died in 2014.
She said she initially battled to strike a balance between school and practising but said her aunt helped her set up a system to set aside enough time for both.
She also sometimes coaches younger players at the badminton courts in Kenilworth. All her siblings play badminton and her younger sister, Michelle Adendorff, received provincial colours for U-17 badminton. “My aunt always pushes us to do better in life and reminds us that there is a better life out there if we work hard.”
Stemmet, who worked as a ...