Naomi de Bruine on the art of achieving in sport and study

by frank-stuart
21MAR

An elite athlete with a fighting spirit Naomi de Bruine loves the individual achievement of throwing her opponent to the floor. But she carries an equally strong sense of teamwork and community. This winning combination propels her forward in judo and in her studies.

Dutch-born Naomi has trained in the modern Japanese martial art of judo since she was seven years old.

“I tried it and I never stopped,” she said.

Naomi De Bruine

Fourteen years later and now living in Sydney, Naomi represents Australia in judo and has just returned from seven weeks of training and competition in Europe.

“The level of competition there is high so it’s important to train overseas, but it’s a challenge to mix training with uni.”

Naomi joined the Elite Athlete & Coach Program at ACPE and is currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Education (Physical & Health Education).

“The Program is great. Everyone is really interested in how they can help you succeed in your sport and your studies,” Naomi said.

“Judo is a sport that requires a lot of travel. There are lots of competitions in the lead up to major events.

“When I know I have a trip coming up, I get in touch with the Elite Athlete Program Coordinator. Together we work out whether I need to take any study away with me or whether I can work around it. When I travel I try to concentrate on judo and pick up my studies when I get home.

“ACPE is a different environment to other universities. It’s more of a community. You get to know people and have better relationships with your lecturers, teachers and other students – even if they are doing a different degree to you. People chat and they encourage you.”

Naomi aims to complete her studies during 2017. Her next goal is to prepare for the 2020 or 2024 Olympics. She’s already had a taste of what’s ahead. In 2014, Naomi competed at the Youth Olympic Games, where she won a Bronze medal in the Judo Mixed Continental Team competition.

When she’s not competing, Naomi will return to teaching.

“Teaching has always been something I enjoy. It inspires me and I like to share my own experience in the sport,” she said.

Naomi works as a casual teacher’s aide at a special needs school.

“It is so rewarding,” she said. “In the future, I hope to work in special needs education. You need a fighting spirit and a sense of community.”

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