Visually impaired Tuks athlete graduates with MA degree

Posted on April 18, 2016

'Perseverance overcomes failure and turns the extraordinary achievement into great success.'  These words certainly apply to Carley Lomax, a visually impaired student at the University of Pretoria (UP), who graduated with an MA degree in Recreation and Sport Management at the University's Autumn Graduation Ceremony on 6 April 2016.

Carley joined TuksAthletics in 2007 to compete in the 100 m, 200 m, and long-jump events while pursuing her academic career. In 2011 she obtained a Bachelor of Sports Sciences degree, followed by a BA HMSHons in Recreation and Corporate Wellness in 2012. During her time at UP she represented the institution at several University Sports South Africa (USSA) championships and in 2013 she was selected as a finalist for the Gauteng Sports Awards in the category Female Athlete with a Disability. In addition to the above, she represented South Africa at the International Blind Sport Association (IBSA)'s athletics world championships in 2007 and was selected to participate in the 2015 All Africa Games.

The road that led to Carley's achievement of her MA degree was filled with challenges which she faced with great determination. She studied at UP's LC de Villiers Sports Campus, where she did not always have access a computer and therefore also not to the internet. The result was that she frequently had to make her way from the Sports Campus to the Hatfield Campus, where she could gain access to computers equipped with special software developed for use by visually impaired students.

Apart from the technical challenges that she had to deal with, Carley, who sets high performance standards for herself, also experienced time-management challenges while writing her dissertation. After the graduation ceremony, an elated Carley said: 'Juggling academics and sport, and dealing with the challenges presented by both was no easy feat. One never realises the value of what you are doing until you are up on that podium and people are cheering and applauding.'

The same perseverance that helped her to overcome various obstacles and complete her MA degree is now helping her to prepare for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. 'I know that I am aiming high, but if I don't make this year's Rio Games, I am determined to continue training for the next Paralympic Games,' she says.

Carley's passion for sports and fitness has inspired her to continue her studies and she is currently studying towards a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at UP. She hopes to obtain a teaching position at a school so that she can combine her knowledge of sports sciences and fitness to assist with the development and improvement of sports in local schools.

Her advice to aspiring athletes and students is to never give up on their dreams. She hopes to inspire many young people to persevere in pursuing their dreams, just as she had been inspired by another South African athlete, Geraldine Pillay, known mainly for her achievements in the 100- and 200-metre sprints.


- Author Mikateko Mbambo

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