Six College of Health Sciences students; Sarah-lee Gobindlall (Bachelor of Physiotherapy), Buhle Zondi (Bachelor of Speech Language), Anele Ngubane (Bachelor of Sports Science), Joash Beru (Bachelor of Sports Science), Tanne Lee Smith (Bachelor of Sports Science) and Nolwazi Njilo (Bachelor of Sports Science) are recipients of the Prestige Sports Scholarship Award.
The award recipients play different sport codes including table tennis, hockey, squash, athletics, football and netball respectively.
This scholarship is awarded to students who have played sport at provincial, national or international level in the year immediately before registration with the Institution.
‘I have such a passion for sport and receiving such a great award for my hard work makes me very happy as I have always wanted to get something out of playing sport and all the training and commitment has paid off in an amazing way,’ Njilo said.
Njilo’s family is proud of her achievement: ‘They have always supported me in all my sports and right now they feel I am rewarding them by receiving great things such as this sport scholarship.’
Over the years Njilo has been involved in a number of sports - hockey, indoor hockey, netball, action netball, basketball and athletics. However, she received the award for provincial netball.
Smith feels honoured to be acknowledged for her sport achievements: ‘As the first girl in my family to make it to university, my scholarship means a great deal to me. It will help alleviate the financial pressures on my mom.’
A future biokineticist and professional soccer player, Smith said: ‘My passion for soccer and anything sport-related keeps me going. I am grateful to the award organisers for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime to further my dreams.’
Smith plays for the the UKZN Ladies soccer team and has been playing club soccer since age six. ‘I have participated and achieved in most of my sports; soccer, gymnastics, hockey, touch rugby and triple jump. I captained the KZN Schools U19 ladies soccer team in 2014 and 2015 as well as the Hillcrest 1st soccer, outdoor and Indoor hockey team in 2015.’
‘Receiving the scholarship has proved to me that one can achieve a lot through sports. We just need to strive and persevere in our strengths and opportunities will reveal themselves,’ said squash player Ngubane.
Her family has never understood why she spent most of her time training and why she always needed a lot of money to go on tours.
‘They are now proud and relieved financially. They finally understand, all the hard work has finally paid off in a big way,’ she said.
Ngubane thanked the funders of the scholarship, saying: ‘I am very grateful. I am more motivated to excel in squash. This scholarship was just a start. I am utterly convinced that greater things are yet to reveal themselves.’ She hopes to be in the Jarvis team next year as it will enable her to compete against top players in the country and her future plans include playing in the 2021 Commonwealth Games.
‘Getting the scholarship is an honour. I'm extremely grateful for the financial relief it provides to my family. For that to continue it means I need to maintain a good academic standing as well as perform well in hockey,’ said Zondi.
The future speech therapist loves playing hockey, but says: ‘Given an ultimatum I would focus on becoming a speech therapist more than on hockey.’
She represented the national side in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Zondi lives with her mother and three siblings. Her father was shot and killed in December 2014.
‘My family is united by prayer and my mother bought us up as proud Catholics and I am in the Association of Catholic Tertiary Students at Westville campus.’
The journey towards obtaining this scholarship has been very humbling for long jumper, Beru.
‘It is an honour to represent the university, knowing that all my hard work has paid off,’ Beru said. ‘No words could describe the excitement and relief I felt upon receiving this award.’
He acknowledged that he has been given a great opportunity, saying that his love and passion for the sport has grown ever since.
‘I feel honoured to have been chosen above many other applicants who are deserving of this award too.’
Upon receiving the award Beru felt he had done a great service to his family by relieving them of a financial burden: ‘I could see the pride in their eyes and it brought me joy seeing them happier. They are full-time supporters of my progress and have stood by me through my success and defeat,’ he said. He is studying sports science with the hope of becoming a biokineticist.
‘I wanted a practical career, sports-based and that would allow me to improve lives. This field met all my expectations and it’s something I think I could naturally excel in.’
He hopes to make the national team and consistently represent the country on a number of platforms.
Table tennis player Gobindlall, feels elated, honoured and overjoyed by receiving the award. ‘I’m grateful for the award. It gives me a sense of pride to know that my talent is worth something great enough to support my studies. I achieved this through years of perseverance and I am proud that my sport is paying for my studies.’
Gobindlall’s family is equally happy with her achievement: ‘They feel a sense of pride and honour in that their child is reaping the rewards of her hard work.’ Her future plans include completing her studies, travelling abroad as a sport physiotherapist and continuing to play table tennis.