Playing in the South African Badminton team and one day competing in the Olympic Games are part of Prestige Sports Scholarship winner Ms Laika Maharaj’s future plans.
The second year BCom Accounting student’s impressive track record includes receiving her first South African badminton grading of No 6 in the country at the age of 15 in the Under 17 age group; a South African grading of No 3 in the country in the Under 19 age group, and being selected to be part of the SA U19 Team to participate in Peru at the World Junior Badminton Championships in November last year.
‘The world championships were the highlight of my career and an all-round eye-opening experience,’ said Maharaj
‘I made lots of priceless memories with a team who became family while I improved my game and was exposed to different skill sets.
‘I also competed with the UKZN team recently in the USSA games and we did really well. In the individual section I received a silver medal for singles, a bronze for women’s doubles and also reached the quarter finals for mixed doubles. I was ranked third overall.’
As the eldest of two sisters and one brother, Maharaj has spread her passion for badminton to the family as her sisters now play while her parents are her number one fans.
‘My family and I are extremely grateful for this scholarship as I now have more funds to allocate to my sporting career regarding training and equipment, making it easier for me to improve my skills to reach my goals of playing in the SA Senior Badminton Team and to one day participate at the Olympics.
‘The award also gives me the opportunity to continue studying for my degree at one of the top universities in South Africa,’ she said.
Maharaj is working hard to realise her dream of becoming a Chartered Accountant.