Hockey star dreams big

2013-08-03 00:00

THE name of St John’s DSG hockey player Natalie Esteves is one to remember.

The 17-year-old Grade 11 pupil was recently named in the South African U18 hockey side, and she is part of a group of players who are being looked at for the side that is to take part in next year’s Youth Olympics.

Confidence exudes from the schoolgirl, as she tells The Witness that she thinks her chances of making the final squad for the Youth Olympics are “quite high”.

“My chances are quite high, but it will come down to how hard I work.”

Her short-term dream is to make next year’s side, and in the long term, she hopes to play for the senior women’s hockey team.

“If I keep working hard, then I think I am on the path of achieving my dreams.”

Natalie doesn’t play only hockey. Among others, she features in her school’s first-team basketball team and also plays squash for KwaZulu-Natal.

Should she be selected to represent squash at national level, which sport would she choose?

“I’d choose hockey, easily,” she says without hesitation.

“I’ve been playing hockey since I was walking. I’ve always wanted to play hockey.”

Playing defender for her school’s team, her heroines are attacking players.

“Jade Mayne is a player I look up to. She plays as a striker for South Africa.”

Another one of her heroines is Luciana Aymar of Argentina, regarded as the greatest women hockey player of all time, who is sometimes referred to as la Maradona del hockey.

“She’s amazing,” Natalie says of the Argentinian.

Next year, Natalie will be in matric and in the first team for a third year. After school, though, she hopes to get into Stellenbosch University.

“I watch Varsity Cup hockey and Maties is the team I support.”

One of her best experiences on the hockey field was playing alongside her mother, Hilda, for the All Stars club in 2010.

“It was fun. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much,” she says.

Speaking to The Witness on the phone, Hilda says: “I loved it. It was lots of fun. It was quite special.

“When she got better, they moved her up to Collegians. I’m not as good as her, though.”

“I’d love for her to play for the senior South African team one day. That’s always been her dream.”

Robyn Kirkby, the school’s marketing co-ordinator, says she’s always seen “enormous potential” in Natalie.

“I saw enormous potential in her when she was in Grade 3 at Scottsville.

“She was streaks ahead of the others.

“The writing’s on the wall. I have no doubt that she’ll be part of the SA team one day,” Kirkby says.

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