A kick out of dancing
By STEVE SPINKS
RHIANNAN Beardow is a ballet dancing karate kid.
This is literally one girl who can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
It's a contradiction in activities.
One is the pursuit of fine art.
The other is the pursuit of trying to knock someone's head off.
But if Rhiannan is happy with it, who's going to argue.
After all, she is the Australian Under-10 karate sparring champion.
She's also the June winner of The Northern Star-Southern Cross Ten 2005 Junior Sports Star of the Year Award.
Rhiannan won her Australian gold medal last month in Brisbane.
"I was very excited," the nine-year-old said.
"I was also very proud."
Rhiannan's mum, Darylene Beardow, explains the contradiction in sporting choices.
"It is from one extreme to the other," Mrs Beardow said.
"Some find it really funny, but I think they complement each other.
"But the best thing about both of them is she makes lots of friends."
Mrs Beardow has been involved with karate since she was a youngster, so she didn't hesitate in signing her daughter up as a five-year-old.
Her son, Jye, who is seven, also practices karate.
It does beg the question, do any family fights get settled with a karate chop?
"Sometimes the kids will have a spar at home, just mucking around," Mrs Beardow said.
"But it's more in fun than actually hurting each other."
Leading up to the Australian titles, Rhiannan was training five nights a week.
It wasn't her first major tournament, last year she won a gold medal at the Queensland titles, but it was her first National competition.
Mrs Beardow puts Rhiannan's success down to her competitive nature.
"She can be pretty good out there on the mat," Mrs Beardow said.
"She is very focused and very, very, very competitive."
The year four pupil dances with the Karen Ireland Dance Troupe.
She fights with the Richard Marlin Success Martial Arts studio.
In between, Rhiannan represents her school, Our Lady Help of Christians, in athletics, cross-country running and swimming.
She also finds the time to play golf and she won the Ballina cadet tournament earlier this year.
So maybe the introduction to this story should have read, Rhiannan Beardow is a ballet dancing karate kid who loves nothing better than hitting a hole in one after a brisk swim and a run.