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No limits for rising university netball star

Netball 22 February 2023

For most 19-year-olds, life involves a fair bit of socialising, sleeping in late and maybe a recreational activity on the side to get the blood flowing every now and then.

But not so for South African netball sensation Maritske Rautenbach, whose recent eye-catching performances have caught attention as she continues the pursuit of her dream: donning the treasured green and gold uniform of the senior national team.

She already has a taste of that attire, albeit at junior level. Maritske was a standout performer at the recent Region V Youth Games in Malawi, a multi-sport competition involving top youth talents from ten southern African countries, where she helped South Africa defend their netball title.

“It was my second year being chosen for the team which made it so much more special to me!” she says of the recent international tournament. “Obviously you are never certain and guaranteed a spot as there are so many talented netball players out there that could have been chosen. I was so thankful and humble to have earned the opportunity to represent my country.”

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Images courtesy of Maritske Rautenbach

Part of the previous 2021 Youth Games squad, and youngest member of the gold medal winning University of Johannesburg team from last year’s annual Varsity Netball competition, Maritske’s talent has become visible on bigger and grander stages. All stepping stones towards her ultimate prize.

“My goal I think is the same as every other netball player, to play for the national Proteas team. Along the way I would just like to play netball, give my best and enjoy every moment. And to also hopefully one day have a degree in health sciences in which I can help people and athletes just like myself.”

Inspiration for that national team spot is no doubt heightened by the fact that South Africa will this year be hosting the Netball World Cup. This is a tournament Maritske absolutely cannot wait for, even if experienced – at least this time – as an ardent spectator.

“I am extremely excited!” she says of July’s international showpiece. “It is going to be so good for us, showing other countries see what potential South Africa has and that we are also one of the teams to be feared. I think we are going to bring something to the table that no one will be expecting, while I think the tournament will definitely unite us as South Africans further in cheering our amazing team on.”

Those roles could soon be reversed, with South African fans cheering on Maritske instead, but for now the teenage talent is just as excited to support her national compatriots and continue her hard work on the way to becoming their teammate in future.

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