Awarded

2015-09-23 06:00
NICOLE WALRAVEN

NICOLE WALRAVEN

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NICOLE WALRAVEN, a student at the University of the Free State (UFS), had a pleasant surprise waiting for her on 29 August.

She had participated in the Women’s Interprovincial Tournament in Potchefstroom, and watched the finals from the stands with her family when the announcement was made.

“They announced that they were going to award South Africa’s (SA) u.21 player of the year. It did not even go through my head that I could stand a chance of winning it. Then next minute, I hear my name being called,” she said.

“To win such an amazing award means so much to me. To be acknowledged as SA u.21 player of the year for the entire country is still something that hasn’t sunk in yet; I still can’t believe it,” remarked Walraven.

Prior to this tournament, the 20-year-old was selected by the South African Hockey Association to represent South Africa, at senior level, at the World League in Spain and has again made the senior squad for selection to play in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in October.

Walraven, a descendant of hockey players, is ambitious about winning the Africa Cup, which would open doors to the Rio Olympics.

“It is my biggest dream to go to the Olympics. If I had the chance to go, I would be the fourth-generation Olympian in my family,” she said.

In addition to her family, the final-year BA Human Movement Sciences student credits her lecturers for her ability to juggle academics and a thriving sports career successfully.

“I owe it to my lecturers and the university for making it possible for me to pursue my dream as well as my studies,” she said.

“It hasn’t been easy, and I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices, but it’s most definitely worth it,” she added.

Also representing Kovsies on the South African women’s hockey team are Liné Malan and Tanya Britz

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