Captain of the Durban Girls’ College First X1 Hockey team, Lori Niemand, is looking forward to leading her team out onto the 3 Schools’ Trust Astroturf as they attempt to retain their Durban Central regional champion title in the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge on Sunday, March 26.
The DGC link, who lives in Durban North, has full colours for hockey and plays for KZN, seems to be as much at home on the turf, as she is in water, on stage and in the classroom. The busy 18 year old has received rewards for her efforts with special honours for synchronized swimming having competed for SA five times, half-honours for art and full honours for academics.
Her passion for the game started when she began playing hockey in Grade R at DGC and says that the thing she most loves about hockey is “the close bond you form with your team members and the excitement of matches.”
With supportive parents, she has been able to pursue her many sporting interests. “My dad is such a good role model and sports idol,” she enthuses. “He has taught me to always be determined and to have a good work ethic. I really admire him for the effort and hard work he puts in to accomplish such a huge achievement of completing 21 Comrades. He continues to train despite the weather or the early mornings, he has showed me how to be motivated and that you can do anything you put your mind to.”
"My mother has always been there to support both me and my sister at every possible event,” says the sports star, whose sister, Tayla, was also captain of the 1st team at DGC in 2012, and “still plays hockey and is running in marathons.”
“Our coaches are amazing, and guide us so well and that helps create this bond within the team. They encourage us to play hard and do our best. And no matter what the outcome is, always show good sportsmanship.”
Niemand says that while art is her favourite subject, she hopes to become a chiropractor one day, and intends studying Chiropractics at Durban University of Technology when she leaves school.
With the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge coming up this weekend, the captain says “We always enjoy the SPAR tournament, and we all love those fabulous hampers. I’m really looking forward to the hockey season this year with my awesome team and coach, Ms Meek. Ashleigh Thomas (vice-captain) and I are very excited for the season ahead.”
With all these activities and commitments how does she manage. “My motto is “Keep it simple, but significant. And always remain humble” and that helps a lot!”