Sisters in same team

2014-04-30 00:00

KZN sisters Tracy Martens and Kim Pretorius, who hail from Pietermaritzburg and Durban respectively, have both been selected to play in the South African indoor hockey team.

The team came top in the Africa championships in Namibia last week, which means they will be heading for Germany early next year to take part in the indoor hockey world championships.

It is unusual to have sisters selected for the same national team and Tracy thinks they might be the first. Hockey legend Brian Edwards, a former national captain and current hockey coach, agrees. He said that while hockey has been a filial sport among brothers, like the famous Madsen brothers of Durban, it is rare for sisters to be in the same team, let alone on the national team.

Tracy and Kim started playing indoor hockey in high school where they played in the school league for Carter High.

They went on to play in the provincial under 21 team and then the provincial ladies team (for KZN Inland). Kim, who is older than Tracy by 17 months, now plays for KZN Coastals. She lives in Durban and works in human resources for Vector Logistics, part of the Rainbow Chicken group. Tracy lives in PMB and is a teacher. The sisters get to see a lot of each other as they play league hockey during the indoor hockey season three nights a week.

Tracy said they were the only indoor hockey enthusiasts in their family, although they could have been influenced by their mother, who played outdoor hockey when they were growing up. “We got involved in outdoor hockey from a young age and we naturally took to the indoor game once introduced to it in high schools,” Tracy said. She added that they loved the intensity and pace of the game and that all the players were always involved in the match.

Tracy explained that indoor hockey was played on a court, much smaller than an outdoor hockey field. There are only five players per team (one goal keeper). Outdoor has 11 players. “Indoor hockey has wooden boards running on the widths of the court, so you can bounce the ball along the boards and keep it in play,” she said.

Kim suffered a setback when she was injured and had to withdraw from the tour to Namibia last week. Tracy said her sister was hopeful that she will make a speedy recovery and be fit for the final team selections for the world cup. Kim had played for South Africa in the World Cup in Austria in 2007.

For now they are basking in their own victory but even more so, their teams’ successes. According to Tracy, KZN Inland has a big presence in the national indoor hockey team.

“Our hockey is quite strong and both men’s and ladies teams won the interprovincial tournament in March,” she said.

The SA men’s team have also qualified to go to the World Cup which is expected to take place in February 2015 in Germany.

For the sisters, the weeks ahead will mean plenty of preparations and a number of training camps involving a squad of players, after which the final South African team will be announced as re-selection might occur. They are keeping their fingers and hockey sticks crossed that the re-selection will keep them playing on the national team.

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