Sometimes it requires technological finesse. Sometimes just brute force. Either way, nothing can stop Rotem Efroni in her simultaneous pursuit of an academic degree – and an Olympic championship. Rotem is in her second year of a degree in digital marketing at Sapir Academic College. She also happens to be Israel’s karate champion for her weight class, and a member of the national karate team. So while studying for exams and writing papers on new media, Rotem is also gearing up for the biggest test of her life: winning a spot to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.
Rotem, 25 years old, has been practicing martial arts since the age of five. She starting competing at age seven, battling her way from local to international contests. The defining moment of her sporting career came in 2019, when she beat the world karate champion at the European championship in Spain. The way to Tokyo, however, has been more circuitous than she imagined. COVID19 has put competitions on hold for more than a year, though she has been able to train with the team, albeit wearing a mask. Rotem faces her next hurdle in Paris on June 11, where she will have to compete for her spot at the summer Olympics.
So how does she combine a demanding academic program with a grueling training regimen? “People at Sapir have been very supportive. They help me resolve scheduling conflicts between courses, exams and training events. Honestly, I don’t know how I could have done it without them.” Faculty and fellow students at Sapir are thrilled at the prospect of studying with an Olympic medalist. And as everyone knows, you just don’t mess with Rotem.