The Proteas women’s team has been on a steady rise since making it to the semi-finals in the 2014 T20 World Cup. Currently ranked #3 in the world for ODIs and #5 in the T20, they’re a force to be reckoned with on the international stage.
Great news for fans: simply by turning on any sports channel or tuning in to listen to the sports news, it’s clear that women’s sport is finally getting the media coverage it deserves. This means that young South Africans have more heroes to look up to, and there’s no doubt that young girls are sitting up and taking notice.
Our national women’s teams are taking the international sports stage by storm, with our women’s hockey team representing the country at the 2020 Olympics in Japan, our 7s and 15s rugby teams a permanent force in televised international tournaments, and our netball team set to take part in the 2023 Netball World cup.
As the official exercise partner to the Proteas women’s team, Virgin Active asked young fans to share their most burning questions and sat down with some of the key players after a training session to get their answers.
Laura Wolfaardt, our opening batswoman, grew up having to play cricket with the boys. It was only when she turned 14 that she was able to join Western Province cricket and train with the women’s side. When asked if she’s excited about the future of girls’ cricket, Laura replied “Definitely. I think if you see how far the game has come, even in the last 2, 3 years – it’s been incredible. I now play cricket all year round, whether it’s for South Africa or a league. So the opportunities are really amazing, and with sponsorships and the money now available through leagues like the IPL, it’s definitely heading in the right direction.”
Nonkululeko Mlaba was very modest when asked where she learnt to be such an extraordinary bowler. Her response: “Sjoe, I don’t know. Because even now I’m struggling to be consistent, so I won’t say I’m an extraordinary bowler but I’m getting better.”
She followed her sister and brother into the world of cricket in 2013 and was first selected to play for the Proteas when she was only 19. When asked what she would like to say to all the aspiring sports girls watching the Proteas during the T20 tournament, she said, “Believe in yourself and whatever you want to do, just do it. Just be you.”
“If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” says Sue Anstiss in her book Game On: The Unstoppable Rise of Women’s Sport. Thanks to remarkable sportswomen like the Proteas, the next generation of South African sportswomen finally get to see amazing women in action. We encourage all aspiring sportswomen out there to expand their dreams. Because in 2023 and beyond, there are no limits.