Name: Shantelle Thompson
What is your dream?
My dream is to reach the highest levels I can as a grappler (BJJ, wrestling, submission grappling). My current sporting goal is to qualify for the Australian wrestling team and compete and medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. My dream is to continue to inspire and empower others to become warriors and leaders of their own lives and to dare to dream.
Tell us a bit about you.
I am a 33 year old proud Barkindji/AngloSaxon woman, mother of 3 (including twins). I was born as a fair-skinned Aborigine – not white enough for some or black enough for others. But in my heart I have always been a warrior from a warrior tribe called Barkindji on the Murray River. As a teenager I acted out, pushed boundaries but never went completely off the rails. I became a young mother and suffered deep post-natal depression – but used martial arts to save my life and find a way back to spiritual, physical and mental health. I live to inspire and empower others, I dream to help create a better world in which women can stand tall, proud, strong and are resilient and the writers of their own journeys.
How have you demonstrated commitment?
While managing to raise and support my young family, and studying to build a career, I am training twice a day doing multiple sessions to prepare for upcoming tournaments and selection trials. I share my journey on social media to help inspire and empower others, to show that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things through the highs and lows. I do speaking engagements in schools and facilitate workshops in youth programs and the community to help people become empowered, resilient and develop much needed leadership and life skills to become the writers of their own stories.
What challenges do you face?
Struggling financially and spreading myself thin between all my commitments, I now need some support so I can breathe and bring to my sporting goal the laser-like focus I need to get to an Olympic level. I’m already training twice a day but with all my other commitments I don’t have the capacity I need to recover between training sessions and to maximise my physical and mental potential.
How will you use the money?
I would use the grant money to help me cover some of my training and preparation costs and helping get to the Oceania Championships in Tahiti in April 2017. The money will go towards strength and conditioning sessions, private wrestling lessons with a coach and flights.
How do you plan to give back?
To contribute to my community and have a social impact in 2017 I plan to; follow my dreams and work to be the best role model and leader I can for my family and community, strengthen my cultural knowledge, language and practice, work closely with my mentors to develop my facilitation skills to work with women, Aboriginal children and youth and support workers. I will continue the Kiilalaana program during school holidays in Mildura/Robinvale/Dareton, and build my profile and reach through social media platforms and build my skills and knowledge around social media and the impact it can have.