MORE ABOUT BONGIWE

Women's Health (South Africa) - - BEST BODY -

SHE’S A LATE BLOOMER

Some kids start play­ing net­ball in pri­mary school, but Bongiwe spent most of her time just watch­ing the other kids play. When she was 16, the net­ball team was a player short and she filled the spot. But it wasn’t an in­stant suc­cess. “It was a bit em­bar­rass­ing at times not be­ing able to do what was re­quired,” she says. “I re­mem­ber the coach used to work with me on the side, try­ing to up my skills while the other play­ers were al­ready mas­ter­ing it – in my eyes.” It paid off. “I trained hard be­cause I al­ways wanted to be bet­ter,” she says.

SHE PLAYS IN­TER­NA­TION­ALLY

While the net­ball sea­son in SA is quiet, Bongiwe is in Aus­tralia rep­re­sent­ing the Ade­laide Thun­der­birds. She’s also played for Sur­rey Storm and the Wasps Net­ball, both Bri­tish teams. “Net­ball has al­lowed me lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties to travel the world and I ’m grate­ful,” she says. “But you also get to ex­pe­ri­ence the re­al­is­tic chal­lenge of lack of recog­ni­tion. It ’s re­ally hard to put so much hard work into your sport and get a lack of sup­port. This leads to doubts in girls want­ing to play sport. It has to be bet­ter!”

SHE USED TO BE A TEACHER

Be­fore Bongiwe got signed on to play for in­ter­na­tional clubs, she was a PE teacher. It only oc­curred to her once she’d started trav­el­ling for net­ball, play­ing for Sur­rey Storm, that she could forge a ca­reer as a pro net­baller.

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