Woodridge's Edith Molikoe is Olympics bound

Woodridge College hockey star Edith Molikoe is making waves in national circles.
Woodridge College hockey star Edith Molikoe is making waves in national circles.

Our SPAR/The HERALD Homegrowing Hero for this month is a local hockey star who caused waves recently when she was not only selected to represent SA at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but was also included in the high-performance training squad made up of the country’s best indoor hockey players.

Edith Molikoe, of Woodridge College, is therefore very much in the mix for full national colours when the South African team for the upcoming international season — which includes fixtures against Switzerland, Ireland and Poland — is chosen.

Edith, who captains her school’s first team, first caught the eyes of national selectors when she took part in the 2018 interprovincial tournament in Cape Town.

There she was not only named as junior player of the tournament, but was also selected for the SA Indoor side that travelled to Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

This year she will once again be one of the youngest members of the squad but says she is determined to show that age is just a number and that it is the amount of work you put in that determines your success. She also feels that there is a particularly strong group of women who are currently coming through the SA hockey system and that this would make final selection a tough task for the coaches.

Currently in her matric year at Woodridge College, Edith grew up in the Free State as a youngster before her family moved to Nelson Mandela Bay where she attended Charlo Primary during junior school. She is deservedly named as our SPAR/The HERALD Homegrowing Hero for this month.

Herald: Edith, congratulations on your selection to both the South African Olympic squad for Tokyo 2020 as well your selection (again!) to the SA national indoor team! These must be exciting times for you?

Edith Molikoe: Absolutely, yes, very exciting times, thank you! I got selected to the Indoor squad after a very good interprovincial tournament, where I was named junior player of the tournament, and then the national selectors also felt my performances were worthy of me being included in the Olympic squad! I really did not expect it at all. I had always watched the Olympics on TV and told myself that this is where I want to be playing some day, so being given the opportunity to do so now is just special. I want to grab the chance with both hands and try learn as much as possible.

Herald: Tell us a bit about your role in each team? Does it differ from field hockey to indoor hockey?

Edith Molikoe: Oh yes, it certainly does. Field hockey is obviously far more structured than the indoor, and positioning is far more important. I play up front as striker centre-link in field hockey, while in indoor hockey all players have far more licence to roam all over the field.

Herald: How many hours of training would you have to put in during the course of a typical week?

Edith Molikoe: Quite a bit! School starts at 8.05am, so I wake up at 6.30am and get in an hour’s training before the first class, and then put in a few more hours once the school day is done.

Herald: We understand that you have also made the difficult choice of academics over sport this year?

Edith Molikoe: As much as I love playing hockey I am in matric this year, and my studies have to take priority. As a result I will not be available for the Indoor Tests coming up against Switzerland during November. I want to get good marks so I can study sports sciences after school.

Herald: Who were your role models growing up?

Edith Molikoe: I have always looked up to my dad. He was very sporty and always encouraged me, but I also have to say that Ms Maxime Bird, who is my house mother and hockey coach at Woodridge has been a big influence. She and other members of the Woodridge staff have always been very supportive of me.

Herald: How old were you when you started playing hockey, and what message would you have for young players starting out?

Edith Molikoe: I started playing field hockey when I was about eight years old, and first began with indoor when I was 14. My advice to young players would be to practise hard and always give your best. Then the rewards will come. I am hoping that my achievements will inspire the next generation of Woodridge hockey players to do even better.