Victorian teenager Marianna Sampanis is in the midst of an astonishing year of achievement.
Her passion and dedication to karate has shone through with some incredible results in both senior and junior competitions in 2019.
Representing Australia all over the world is an honour for the 18-year-old, in what she describes as “an amazing experience.”
AKF Media caught up with the Australian sensation, to delve into how she balances year 12 studies with her training, meeting and competing against her karate idols and her goals for the up-coming World Beach Games in Qatar.
Asked about her journey in recent months, Samapanis’s schedule has seen her compete at several National and International events.
“Earlier this year I represented Australia at the Senior Oceania Championships and came away with the Silver. I then won Bronze at the Australian Open in the senior category, and Silver in the U21 category.”
“Then I was off to Canada in the Series A, and that was an amazing experience. I got to meet so many big names and I had the opportunity to even chat with my idols.”
“I was off to the Nationals in Tasmania three weeks ago, and managed to get two Bronze medals (Seniors & U21s).”
“My journey has been great so far and I’m just looking forward to the rest of the year.”
Juggling the busy workload between school and training is something Sampanis is very used to.
The 18-year-old said she has faced it all her life, and this year has taken on less subjects at school in order to commit to both her studies and karate training.
“I’m year 12 this year, instead of sitting four subjects, I’ll only sit two subjects.” She said.
“Just so I’ll be able to study, and train at the same time for all of these big competitions coming up.”
“I have grown up like that, (training and studying) I go to school for one-to-two hours and then come home and study for five-to-six hours, then head off to training until late at night.”
“The process is all fine with me because I love school and love karate and I do both of them because I want to do them and be good at them.”
“So balancing them is being able to balance them in your mind and not a problem with time.”
Coming up in October, Sampanis has her sights set on the World Beach Games in Qatar. She’ll be competing in the Female Kata individual event. She’s been training vigorously in the lead up and said she’s committed to doing Australia proud.
“I’m currently training seven days a week, and doing my Katas and strength and conditioning work.”
“My goal is to perform at the best of my abilities and I know that hard work is required to compete at this once in a lifetime competition.”
“I’m just challenging myself everyday so I can test my limits, get ready for the World Beach Games and make my country proud.”
Up against high profile athletes such as Japan’s Kiyou Shimizu and Spain’s Sandra Sanchez, Samapanis said she’s honoured to compete against her idols. These two athletes in particular have inspired the teenager for many years.
“I’ll be along some of the biggest names in the female category. I love, Kiyou Shimizu, who I’ve trained with in Japan, she’s amazing.
“Also Sandra Sanchez, I’ve met her once and can’t wait to compete against her and challenge myself.”
“I’ve grown up watching them (Shimizu and Sanchez) on Youtube, it was always my dream to even be able to talk to them and now to compete against them is amazing.”
“I’ll be at the World Beach Games until October 14th, and I’m off to the World Karate Championships on the 16th. It will be a long three weeks but it’s worth it.” She said.
Asked whether she has aspirations to compete at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, Sampanis admitted it’s a big dream of hers. She realises the importance of the hard work involved, but maintains the belief that anything is possible.
“Being apart of the Olympics is every athletes dream, it requires a lot of time, hard work and dedication.”
“We have athletes like Sandra and Kiyou who have been trying to get a spot for years. But I’m going to train as hard as I can, because everything is achievable if you believe in yourself.”
“It is my honour to represent Australia at the massive events this year. I hope I can make everyone here at home proud.”